It was hard not to get whiplash in Jerusalem, Israel, this past week.
The extremes of the good news and bad were so sharp it was hard to keep up.
While the 4.5 million Israelis who usually go overseas for their summer holidays had to stay home because of the pandemic situation, Israel’s nature spots were fully booked. Now a holiday lockdown is predicted as the number of COVID-19 infections rises.
Schools opened. Schools closed. Classes were on Zoom. Students were home.
Oh, and there was a heatwave, making going outside unpleasant!
The humidity rose in the evening making the nights unusually uncomfortable. But over the Jerusalem streets, clouds produced lovely and colorful sunsets like this one over the Israel Museum, partially illuminated in the center of the photo.
The demand for electricity caused random power outages. However, these Jerusalem street lights did not go off in the morning light and needed professional attention.
An unusual sports excitement, Dean Kremer, the first Israeli ever drafted by a US Major League Baseball team made his major league debut for the Baltimore Orioles. He pitched a great game, and even though they beat the Yankees, Israeli Yankee fans were impressed enough to take to social media.
Trying to get back to some sort of normal with coronavirus has been difficult for theaters, cultural festivals and events. The Film & Conversation group in Baka/Katamon is planning to move outside Beit Yehudit at night on 13 September.
Signs were up for performances in theater courtyards.
The ‘Stars Outside’ signs were up again, trying to get audience to attend.
The Hansen House announced a designer’s event.
And a new sign for new Jerusalem local elections in November.
Rosh Hashana begins on Friday night.
After Shabbat, the Ashkenazim joined the Sefardim in Selichot, who have already been saying them for a month. Due to COVID-19 regulations, this year there was a special prayer service with special seating in Kikar Safra, the Jerusalem Municipal plaza.
The late-night musical Selihot were led by Yizhak Meir and broadcast on YouTube and Facebook. An announcement was made at the end that people should not crowd, but leave in ‘capsules’ and small groups.
Meanwhile, not far away, at the same time, the anti-Bibi protesters were back for the 12th week.
The new Jerusalem street signs for a successful New Year,
and a year of happiness.
Pomegranates are another sign of Rosh Hashana.
Apples and honey and success are yet another New Year sign.
Reports that Egyptians are now trying to get Hamas to release the bodies of Hadar Goldin, and Oron Shaul. Avera Mengistu has been held captive in Gaza for six years.
It’s time to bring the boys home.
Selihot last year, over 1,000 people attended the Jerusalem Great Synagogue.
It has been closed since the spring and will remain closed for the High Holy Days this year.
The Kotel, Western Wall, usually crowded with tens of thousands for Selihot, had a limited crowd, divided into ‘capsules,’ and only filled up well after midnight.
What a year 5780 has been!
So there you have some of the ups and downs, good and bad, certainly different, of the past week
Coming in so strongly, the Hebrew year 5780 Jerusalem hit record numbers in tourism. It was then hit with a pandemic and closed borders to overseas tourists.
Now with prospects of normalization with Gulf neighbors, there should be euphoria. But new closures dampen holiday planning. No one really knows what will be for the next day, next week, next month, certainly not next year.
But as we begin 5781, wishing all a year of good health!
Hope to see you all again soon on the Jerusalem streets.