10 Signs the Jerusalem Streets are Back

Oh, Jerusalem! Oh, Jerusalem!

Nahamu. Nachamu.

After the lows and mourning of Tisha B’Av, just a few days later and it’s party time – at least summer holiday time. People who might have traveled overseas in a normal year, are staying closer to home with the uncertainty of border closings and questions of the Delta and other variants.

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1. Gan Sacher, Sacher Park fills with large family gatherings in the evening as summer days cool off and they are able to share elaborate meals.

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2. Synagogues have reopened, with a mask requirement, however, those outdoor social distanced services continue in many locations.

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3. Midnight at the Kotel, Western Wall, the sight of hundreds of people coming and going, day and night is back.

Last year many “annual” events were not held or were extremely limited.

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4. At Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence, an annual event remembering deceased former Presidents and Prime Ministers was held.

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New President Isaac Herzog hosted, with his wife Michal and new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at his side. All present had to wear a mask inside.

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For the first time as Prime Minister, Bennett spoke at an event at Beit Hanasi and attracted a little media attention.

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Noticeably, he refrained from shaking hands. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attended, the only former PM or President present.

The real streets paid little attention to the event.

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5. Crowds of people have returned, and are filling Mamilla Mall, day and night, passing thru or just strolling,

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shopping,

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and eating at old favorites or trying the new dairy restaurant that opened recently.

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On Mamilla Avenue, one store closes and another store opens.

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This Dior cafe on the roof is gone, after making a short appearance on social media, and creating a buzz for a few days.

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6. But the food trucks are back in the Hinnom Valley Park near the Cinematheque, bigger than ever, attracting nightly summer visitors.

While the Beer Festival music blasting from Gan Haatazmaut, Independence Park could be heard on distant Jerusalem streets,

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7. softer, free music was offered on the pathway thru the Artists Colony.

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On the cool Thursday evening, it attracted an appreciative audience.

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8. Nice to see artists back in their shops creating and working.

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Nothing seemed to reach the attention level of the ice-cream crisis, but

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9. Golda in Mamilla Mall was busy as usual selling ice cream. One of the sad sights of the corona lockdowns was the empty spaces outside stores forced to close.

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10. Back at night under the full Tu B’Av moon was the fountain at Teddy Park. Ah, the sounds of thrilled children playing in the water as hundreds of people watched from around the on a cool summer night.

The Jerusalem streets are back.

Let’s hope they stay open, filled with people enjoying the summer holidays.

Check out more on Jerusalem travel here.

L’Chaim!

To Life!

What do you think of on July 4th in Jerusalem?

The smell of freshly cut grass is not one associated with Jerusalem, Israel.

But as I entered Jerusalem’s Liberty Bell Park from the shade of the Hubert Humphrey Arbor and descended the steps toward the Liberty Bell on July 4th morning, the familiar clean and fresh aroma of grass filled the air.

The Liberty Bell Park was dedicated 45 years ago to coincide with the 1976 Bicentennial celebration in the United States.

However, for Israelis, the same date July 4, 1976, was the Entebbe mission where Yoni Netanyahu fell in action saving the hijacked passengers.

In Liberty Bell Park there is a memorial garden in his name.

July 1st is Canada Day and next to the Yoni Netanyahu Garden is another memorial Canadians should appreciate.

The Terry Fox Memorial Garden was dedicated in 1985 to a special athlete who captured the imagination and respect of Canadians as he crossed the country on one leg after amputation because of cancer to raise money for cancer research.

As I reached the end of the park, classes of young students were arriving.

I wondered if they knew of the significance of climbing on the exact replica of the US Liberty Bell on July 4th, in a Jerusalem, Israel, park?

So glad it was cooler, following a very hot week of summer weather of last week.

A real conference, live and online, with programs and tags – and face masks.

Dozens of speakers on economy and education and more, but only one was wearing a watermelon shirt, a professor from Hebrew University.

With the rising corona numbers, I hope it’s not one of the last of large gatherings allowed inside.

Also exciting to be back to Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence for the arrival of the German President. Notice the equipment to do a live stream, and the antiviral gel on the wall, both new additions since former President Joachim Gauck came in December 2015 to mark the 50th year of Israel-German diplomatic relations.

After over a year of reduced ceremonies, the IDF band was back preparing.

The military honor guard inspected before President Steinmeier arrived.

The mingling and chatting of German and Israeli military officials, in the Jerusalem garden of Beit Hanasi, something I find incredulous.

Who could ever imagine 80 years ago, German media traveling with their President to Jerusalem, Israel, and sending back the breaking story from their laptop computer?

The Presidents spoke and planted an apple tree in the Beit Hanasi yard. One of President Rivlin’s last major events. On Wednesday, July 7, 2021, Israel is to have a new President and preparations are underway for the transition.

Remembering the past and planning for the future in Jerusalem, Israel.

The past and future are reflected in these Jerusalem street signs. The small blue sign is of the combatting antisemitism mega-events held at the end of January 2019 BC (Before Corona). Not sure which election cycle the yellow Shas campaign ad was for. But below are the new signs for Mekudeshet musical events and the night of Tisha B’Av “conversations.”

There was so much more, but enough.

You never know what will be happening next on the Jerusalem streets!

Jerusalem Back to Normal: But what will happen next?

This past year has shown no one can predict what will happen next.

After well over a year with so little happening due to corona restrictions, last week was one very busy, “back to normal” week.

Finally, too many good things happened hard to decide what to share first.

The view in the distance from the footbridge over Hebron Road appeared the same as for centuries the sun reflected off the Old City walls.

But as the week began, down below in the Sultan’s Pool, the huge stage was lit for a major Chabad event at night for men and boys.

At the same time across the way on the Begin Center main stage, the final performance of Rebecca: Mother of Two Dynasties was being performed by women for women.

The Begin Heritage Center was also the site for special weekly Bible sessions.

Of course, the Jerusalem buildings keep going up and up.

The old entrance of the President’s Hotel was been cemented shut.

Goodness, even those famous steps from the Montefiore Windmill down by Yemin Moshe are gone.

Some of the street work is hard to explain, with pavement recently done – being redone and landscaped.

And those new blue historical signs becoming more common than the regular road closures.

But this week there was more happening in Jerusalem!

Postponed for a year, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are to be held this summer.

The Israeli Olympic and Paralympic teams were invited to Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence for a traditional sendoff and official photograph.

Large black & white photos of participating athletes were posted outside the main entrance.

The Japanese Ambassador to Israel attended and was interviewed by Walter Bingham, the world’s oldest active journalist at the young age of 97.

The Ambassador also posed with leaders from the Israeli Baseball team, playing for the first time in the Olympic competition.

The team photo was taking at Machane Yehuda Market, and two of the baseball players were at Beit Hanasi for the send off event.

Inside, the veteran Paralympic athletes had seats near the front.

For the first time in a very, very long time, the main hall was filled, over filled to capacity.

Ready to present a gift to President Rivlin was European gold medal winning rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram.

The traditional posed photographs were taken afterward outside, more HERE.

But how long has it been – two big events hosted at Beit Hanasi in one day?

And with full buffet tables!?

The same evening a business leaders conference included live entertainers.

Rows of invited guests, seated with the Israeli President, used to happen regularly, but not this last year of President Rivlin’s seven year term.

The round of farewells the past few weeks has been continuous.

The Israeli Business Roundtable had a cute image in their presentation.

President of Israel Reuven Rivlin spoke to full houses on Wednesday.

Then after Shabbat, he departed on a farewell visit to the United States at the invitation of President Joe Biden.

But he is to be back on Thursday morning, to hold a state reception ceremony for President Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and his wife, on a state visit to Israel.

President Steinmeier of Germany will plant a tree in the Avenue of Presidents in the gardens of Beit Hanasi and will then sign the Beit Hanasi visitors’ book and President Rivlin will host a state banquet in their honor.

Jerusalem Israeli President House reception for Andrea Merkel and delegates

Three years ago, Beit Hanasi held a state dinner for Andrea Merkel.

A full schedule before July 7, 2021, when Israel is to get a new president.

Getting used to new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his emails. Since the airport has been a source of new corona variants, Bennett has appointed Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Ronni Numa: “who has been doing exceptional work in Bnei Brak and with the ultra-orthodox public. He will receive the responsibility to integrate and manage dealing with the coronavirus at the crossings.”

No certainty to when borders will be open and tourists will return.

And finally, I am slow today! How could I forget? This week also we had a reunion of former Virginians in Ramot Mall, as two couples were able to get into Israel from the US to see their children and grandchildren. So it’s happening, slowly.

Who knows what next will happen on the Jerusalem streets?

Hope we can see you here soon. Meanwhile, virtual tours are available.