Jerusalem, Israel streets began to come alive. Slowly people came out from the latest coronavirus lockdown, as from the safety of a cave or like a butterfly from its cocoon.
Each day last week I walked a different route to see what was happening on the Jerusalem streets with the lessening of corona restrictions.
People returned to the Old City as soon as the gates were again reopened.
Yes, school? No school? No Red or Orange school. Yes, Green preschool?
Confused? Here was the start of the new answer to the constant question:
Question #1 from a 6-page official document:
Does the return outline apply to all schools and nurseries throughout the country?
Answer: The outline distinguishes between localities and authorities that are in green and yellow areas and those in orange traffic light areas where physical learning has been allowed, and between authorities that are orange and red according to the traffic light model.
So? Most schools were not open, especially in Jerusalem this past week.
Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, had a holiday appearance, and the sounds of laughter and smells of grilled food filled the air.
With spring-like winter weather, families flocked to green open spaces.
While many people drive south to see the flowers, I am happy to walk closer to home for those annual red anemones, the sign of spring.
Zion Square provided a place to sit, as Ben Yehudah and Jaffa Road eating places provided takeaway food. As I walked around I kept thinking of bears coming out of hibernation and hungrily looking for a first meal.
Stores were still closed on Mamilla Mall, and this was the last cyclist allowed to pass through, as people were slowly returning and walking on Mamilla Ave.
Not sure where these two women carrying bags made their purchases.
Rimon, the only cafe open, was back in business, with outside eating only.
I was disappointed to find not one hamentashen displayed in the window.
Purim is less than two weeks away, but the usual holiday excitement was not apparent this year as I walked around Jerusalem.
People were in line for eyeglasses, interesting as they were one of a few businesses allowed to be open throughout the strict corona lockdowns.
The hair salons were allowed to reopen and here a customer was having their hair done with the door open. However, next door the small clothing store was gone, out of business.
Too many small business owners forced to close for repeated corona lockdowns have given up and their vacated stores now display for rent signs.
This appeared at first to be a sorry sight on Ben Yehudah Street.
But when I looked up, new buildings towered above. Thousands of new hotel rooms should be ready when tourists come back to Jerusalem.
As for the new hotel going up on King George Street, I was wrong, it’s over 15 stories tall, not ten as I mentioned last week.
The renovation of the Knesset Museum on King George Street though is still in a very sorry state of disrepair.
The road work on Jerusalem streets continues, with closings to traffic and detours becoming the new normal.
As these new signs were going up, the street was closed briefly. There are so many new signs I may have to do a piece on some of the ones I collected.
I was relieved that these oversized signs were for phones. As the March election date approaches, we anticipate some politicians’ oversized faces will again appear here near the main entrance to Jerusalem.
King David Street is closed for repaving. However, a new sign for George Washington Street was up in time to share for the US Presidents’ Day on February 15th this year.
This Abraham Lincoln Street sign is next to the YMCA on King George Street.
But where the two US presidents’ streets meet there are no signs to share.
The YMCA will be difficult to access when it is allowed to reopen, my shortcut using this side entrance on Lincoln Street will become popular.
Lovely days and golden sunsets, and talk of possible snow by Wednesday?
President Rivlin took a trip to Mount Hermon this week to the snow.
When will we get back to “normal” is the big question, not if it will snow.
On Friday, my son was sitting on our porch. He looked out and said, “What’s that building? It wasn’t there last time I was here.” Not the Knesset, it has been there over 50 years, but the construction near Cinema City has mushroomed up during the past year.
Parents with young children were relieved to get out for some fun days this past week with travel in Israel less limited. But families really want to go back to school in real classrooms or even outdoors, and not at home forever zooming. There are Israeli students who have been in classrooms for only one day, though I saw a sign this week wishing students good luck on their final high school exams.
In Bnei Brak on Thursday night, free chulent was offered to people getting vaccinated. Hikers were vaccinated in an MDA Corona vaccine trailer in the Shokeda Forest.
The sun was shining and it was warm last week, what will happen next?
You never know what will happen in the Jerusalem streets!
Check back next week to find out and stay well out there.