Jerusalem 15 Happenings for Bright Summer

The Jerusalem summer of 2021 is looking to be brighter and so much better than last year.

In 2020, Jerusalem, Israel gatherings were limited because of the multiple and changing coronavirus restrictions. Museums shuttered. Theater lights were dark. Festivals were canceled.

See what’s new and what’s happening again in Jerusalem for this summer:

The wooden structure, called Ester Tower, in the Hansen House garden, was lit at night for Design Week. Talented artists prepared other unique and original pieces for the Runaway Circus theme of the annual event.

The fullest IDF band in recent memory was assembled on July 6th, for Israel’s outgoing 10th President Reuven Rivlin to welcome Israel’s 11th President Isaac Herzog to Beit Hanasi, the President’s Official Residence.

The sculpture of Reuven Rivlin in the garden was unveiled in the morning.

During a rehearsal break, members of the honor guard were able to see the ‘heads’ and read histories of the former Israeli Presidents.

The full red carpet was rolled out for the arrival of the official motorcycle-led motorcade in the early evening after the Knesset swearing-in ceremony.

President Isaac and Michal Herzog were escorted in by the IDF military and Beit Hanasi personnel.

Former President Rivlin waited to escort the new occupants inside to the main reception room where the Beit Hanasi staff and family waited.

Warm speeches and hugs, and more children than usual filled the room.

Stopping on the way out to sing Hatikvah for the live stream and cameras,

the Herzogs waved goodbye to the former president,

who was accompanied by Rivka Ravitz and her staff who also are moving on.

But not only was it good to be back again at Beit Hanasi this week.

It was good to see the fountain and lights back on in Teddy Park!

Last year it was not operating and no children were having fun in the cooling water as it stops and starts and pulsates upwards overhead.

Groups are back in the parks, tour groups and tour buses are again seen on the Jerusalem streets.

First Station was busy when it was allowed to be open over the past year. Starting soon in July at First Station there will be a new activity: ice skating.

Signs are up for the annual Beer Festival July 21-23, again to be staged in Gan Haatzmaut, Independence Park.

The Wine Festival is to be back on July 26-27th at the Israel Museum.

The annual Street Ball Festival is set for July 27-28, and the Outline Festival “layers” August 5-12th.

Food Trucks are back in Hinnom Valley from now until the fall.

Jerusalem signs are up for summer in the neighborhood. In August there will be street performances and street installations along nine main Jerusalem streets.

Sultan’s Pool and Safra Square concerts are to be back again bigger than ever.

Camping sites for families are planned in six Jerusalem parks on July 29 from 4:30 pm to July 30 at 10:00 am.

Urban nature events and guided tours will augment the end of August Silchot tours.

At the Botanical Gardens, a Snow Kingdome is to run from July 25 – August 31st, with ice figures and lights.

Work at the Tower of David is ongoing, but events were also announced.

So much and more happening in Jerusalem for a busy and bright summer! See full details of Jerusalem summer events

Let us know what you decided to do this summer on the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem Sounds of Music

Who would think the quiet sounds of Jerusalem parks would be a good thing? But children are back in school after a long year at home. Public parks are hosting group activities again, not just providing for family health and sanity with a break out of the house during the day.

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At Takhana Rishona, First Station, on a recent Friday morning, deliveries arrived early for open area dining, and inside seating dining as well.

An outdoor yoga class in the center tent area was happening,

as the aroma of fresh brew from the new coffee bar filled the air.

I was off to meet with Daniel and Yedidia Schwartz near JETH – the Jerusalem Entrepreneur Tourism Hub. A perfect location for their new tour innovation to begin.

Great seeing other groups also as we set off on foot from the Takhana.

The first stop was the Khan Theater, where Daniel, a professional tour guide, told us that the site was built in 1853 as a silk factory. However, it became a night hostel (a khan in Arabic) for Christian pilgrims on their way to Bethlehem, and Jewish travelers on the way to Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs. Since 1968, it has been a popular theater venue.

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Minutes away under the St. Andrew Scottish Guesthouse, near the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, is an archeological site of importance.

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A burial area from First Temple times, featuring posters with excellent explanations concerning the finds, including silver amulets with old Hebrew Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing engraved on them.

Daniel’s tour of Ketef Hinnom and the First Temple period burial site added a new dimension with additional and interesting information.

However, what distinguished this tour from others was the music. Daniel and his brother Yedidia, a professional violinist with the Jerusalem Symphony, entertained us, providing relaxing interludes along the way.

At one of my favorite off-the-street locations, there was time to sit and appreciate nature,

and historical sites, including the Tower of David, along the way to Yemin Moshe and Montefiore Windmill.

Yemin Moshe is a perennial favorite, who can’t but enjoy its beautiful lanes.

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Near the Montefiore Windmill, deserted for so long, people were enjoying the spring-like weather and being out and about again.

In the park area behind King David Hotel, the history of the hotel was retold as nearby groups were getting in their partying before Ramadan.

Celebrating graduation 2021 – and oh what a year it was.

The Lion Fountain had children splashing in the cool water again.

Tourists were learning about the Templar Meeting House next to the Orient Hotel. Tours are for Israelis, with most in Hebrew, as international visitors are limited until May 23rd.

After the Templar houses of Emek Refaim Street, we left for what was advertised as the “Secret Garden.”

In 1880, Martin Pauser built this building as a baker, and he also sold ice cream. During the War of Independence, women and children from Kibbutz Ramat Rachel took refuge here, on what is now called Patterson Street.

In the garden, the tour ended with more music – and wine. I refused to drink so early in the day. But seated in the lovely garden, I felt like I was on a holiday vacation far away – but yet so close to home.

At each stop on the tour, people who walked by would take out their phones and cameras to record the lovely sounds. This tour group was recording us at the last stop, so I finally decided time to take their photo in return.

But really, who could blame them?

The sounds of music and beauty were a treat to celebrate the opening up of Jerusalem streets after a year of repeated closures.

Jerusalem Photo Walks are starting again, in real life and online.

As a guest of Tour de Sound, another way to enjoy the Jerusalem streets

photo credit: Spokesperson Mayor’s Office

Also new – the municipality announces bike rental stations!.

Hope to see you all in Jerusalem one day soon.

Jerusalem Time is Flying

October the holidays are over. It’s time for Jerusalem and the Jerusalem streets to get back to “normal.”

Sure.

Two weeks after the end of the holiday season and we changed the clocks, falling backward into standard corona time.

I hate changing the clocks any time.

It’s been a time when it’s hard to keep up with the news bulletins.

First the normalization agreements between Israel and UAE and Bahrain. The United Arab Emirates diplomats arrived in Israel to sign trade agreements. Israeli travel companies are busy working out how to proceed with daily flights as an option, even with COVID19.

Sudan has joined the Gulf states making positive connections with Israel. Did you know Golda Meir and Israel were the first to acknowledge Sudan’s independence? The opening of air space alone is a big deal. Other financial deals we will wait and see.

The old holiday signs were replaced new ones from Mayor Lion for a successful new academic year. However, Hebrew University was open for less than a week and closed today, due to a computer problem.

The nursery schools were allowed to open under the new COVID19 restrictions. But most students are still at home, zooming and waiting to get back to classrooms and their friends.

One group was meeting in an outdoor open area under today’s cloudy sky.

Dog school, however, seems to be going strong in spite of corona.

During this time many Jerusalem streets have gotten a new look.

Some streets are unrecognizable with constantly changing barriers and infrastructure improvements.

The Great Synagogue is still closed, but a covering provides shade for limited prayer outside in the plaza.

During the lockdown, I was finally able to get a photo of the horse in Gan HaSoos, the Horse Park. Usually there are people around or on it.

In town was a bloodmobile site and new art pieces, but the clothing stores were closed. The supermarket and WeWork were allowed to be open.

Ben Yehuda Street was basically deserted during the lockdown.

Stores shuttered with people allowed only 1 kilometer from home.

The Light Rail was running, but Jaffa Road appeared midday as quiet as early morning, instead of the busy shopping location it had become.

Too many of the Jerusalem streets and alleyways were too quiet.

The First Station area has announced a development plan but needs the tourists to come back for businesses to reopen.

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Construction has been ongoing.

But too often it seems to be workers redoing areas where work was just done?

With all the challenges and noisy protests, closings and corona, suffering, and death, I am happy to share, young couples have found new ways to meet with theaters and museums, hotel lobbies, and cafes closed.

Walking and talking in nature is new norm, with or without a mask.

So the clocks have changed, the days are shorter, but the clouds make for colorful sunsets.

Today is Aliyah Day. In spite of a pandemic people have arrived home to Israel on a regular basis, and the number of applications is causing inpatient waiting times.

The real Jerusalem streets – good, bad and not so ugly.

Stay well and hope to see everyone here soon. At least flight times from most parts of the world should be shorter now with flights to Israel allowed over so many new Gulf countries.

Next year in Jerusalem! (or Dubai?)