New Year New Start

Oh, what a year 2021 was in Jerusalem, Israel, and around the world.

Jerusalem Jaffa Gate should have been filled with visitors this past week. However, it was quiet enough for these young people to film a video.

In Mamilla Mall people were waiting to be checked to enter a store, not for weapons but for a corona-mandated green pass.

As most people can only dream of flying off to Paris for this holiday, a cosmetic company brought the Eifel Tower to Jerusalem’s Mamilla Mall.

We did have some magnificent sunsets to say bye-bye to 2021.

Much of the past year is a one with a time blur, one day running into another. But I can remember where I was standing and who I was speaking with on the phone so many, many years ago when my young son walked in and saw him wearing an IDF uniform for the first time.

“Warrior” / “לוחמת” a new exhibit in memory of Hadas Malka HY’D opened at the Friends of Zion Museum on December 28, 2021.

Hadas Malka, 23, of Moshav Givat Ezer in central Israel, died of wounds sustained in a terrorist attack on June 16, 2017, 22 Sivan 5777, outside the Old City at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate where she was on guard duty.

The exhibit was initiated by her parents David and Geula Malka to illuminate her character, known for diligence and accomplishments.

 Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, former Ambassador Michael Oren, leaders of the Israeli Police, and Border Police joined the Malka family. 

The opening event included speeches to the seated dignitaries and officers.

“If we don’t protect Jerusalem, there will be no State,” was projected on the screen as the Mayor spoke.

Yes, and also we remember the relief when the army service finally came to an end, very different from the Malka family.

Another Jerusalem event held at the Vert Hotel the last week of 2021, celebrated the vision and legacy of the Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky. 

The first panel was led by Yifat Erlich, on opportunities for young Olim in Jerusalem 2021. Included were successful immigrants Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum and Irina Reider. Plus, Yossi Tsuria, CEO of Hilma – Hitech for Society and Security, which includes Carmel 6000, whose programs encourage advanced tech training. Modern chaluztim, today’s young pioneers given a start in very different fields.

The hotel ballroom was filled. People were repeatedly asked to wear masks.

Oh 2021, what a year it was in Jerusalem! I wondered if that would be the last large event – for how long?

As mentioned before, Hansen House has changed so much over the past 10 years, going from an abandoned desolate shell to a site of culture and tech.

At night after a rain delay, ZER0|1NE the hybrid digital art festival took place exploring the connection between art, technology, myth, and magic.  

ZER0|1NEin 2021 aimed to examine the place of technologies and applications with hybrid programming, live and online zoom options.

“Slowly we are beginning to see the community of digital artists blossoming in Israel, and we are excited to give a platform and place to those artists. We hope to grow from year to year and to expand the stage for other artists, and more original productions, while deepening the connection between the creative world and the technological world here in Israel” stated Danielle Zini one of the artistic directors.

The open courtyard design of Conrad Shick’s Hansen House so long ago home for lepers, the venue for corona events looking toward the future.

Paris Fountain in France Square is one of the hundreds of Jerusalem constructions sites unfinished in 2021, a new sign says May 2022 it will be finished.

Another sign near the full 10th Jerusalem Marathon finish line is a favorite and is still up from the event held in October. Only 200 meters to go!

For those of us who made it through 2021, here’s hoping the year ahead is a good and healthy one. Well done!

Instead of recounting the past year as many are doing, I decided to only review the unique events of the past week.

These signs have been posted over Jerusalem streets. Even though many students are presently back on Zoom school, it’s time to register for next year’s places in nursery and elementary schools.

It’s time to look to the future, to a better and hopefully healthier 2022.

Still hoping to see you on the Jerusalem streets- and soon!

7 positive things in Jerusalem this week

Oh, what a year it has been in Jerusalem, Israel!

Oh, what a week it has been!

Where to start?

It’s been a year since Jerusalem’s Old City walls were lit with flags of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in honor of the Abraham Accords.

This week the first Israeli baby was born in UAE, Mia’s father is the Israeli General Consul in Dubai. Because of coronavirus normalization has not gone as fast as many would have liked.

Still waiting to show new Twitter friends the real Jerusalem streets when they are finally able to travel here.

Too many lights over the Jerusalem, Israel streets to see the meteor show, but we did have a clear view of the new moon, over the entrance to the city filled with construction cranes. Building and moving are major themes this week in and around Jerusalem.

New decorations keep popping up over the city center.

People have returned in large numbers to the outdoor spaces.

During the heat of the day, I try to stay off the streets. Jaffa Gate was not filled with the usual tourists, but a slow, steady stream of visitors.

Large gatherings are in danger of being canceled with the new COVID19 regulations and rising numbers of people sick with coronavirus.

However, small musical groups played along Ben Yehuda mall, with children and cats as part of the audience. When it gets so hot, the cats are smart enough to avoid the Jerusalem streets until late in the day.

At Zion Square, the renovated plaza with benches and shade, people appreciated having a place to sit under the newly colorfully decorated large trees.

The tours for Israelis who are not leaving for summer vacation, as usual, are popular and seen in many locations.

This tour group was in the area behind the King David Hotel.

Competing with a performance of Shakespeare in the Park. Theater in the Rough is back! Last year these annual outdoor events were not held.

This week the segway tours and dog walkers passed by on one side.

While from Bloomfield Park, one could also see the Tower of David where people flew by on a wire.

This year it’s Henry IV in Motion performed until the end of August.

This is the only Shakespeare group in the world acting with the wall of the Old City as background. An annual favorite on mine, more HERE

From Hansen House, the towering structure called Ester is still an impressive sight at night.

Lights lead into the former leper hospital from the main gate to the renovated new cultural venue.

I had not noticed these gravestones in the back garden before this week.

I assume that the lights and stands were set ready for one of the scenes of a theatrical performance taking place at Hansen House. With theaters closed so much of the past year, acting companies moved venues and outside.

The new Agam-designed mezuzah on Heichel Shlomo said to be the largest in the world, is easily seen from outside, but not so easy to photograph.

Not all construction work seems to have progressed this past year, it appears that the Knesset Museum still has a long way to go.

In the past year, Beit Avi Chai moved most of its programs online.

New corona warnings and rising numbers were announced this past week. While signs with Miriam Perez urging people to come to Jerusalem and enjoy the festivals and happenings are all around. Not elected Israeli President, she is donating money from her new modeling ad campaign to good causes.

Meanwhile, if the people who are walking on the Jerusalem streets look up from their phones, they will see that there are flowers blooming all along the streets.

There are these new lights near the Prime Minister’s residence to light up the night at the entrance to Balfour Street.

The month of August is half over, and it’s summer holiday time.

However, the big question is whether all schools will open on time.

No one really knows what will be next, but if you want to see the latest Corona regulations updated from Prime Minister’s office I posted HERE

New Rosh Hashanah art posters are up along the streets.

Hard to believe the year 5781 is almost over. Oh, what a year it was!

It’s the count-down time to the holidays. Selihot services and various selihot tours have been announced, too many to mention. No idea where we will be praying this year.

But for the first time in over a year, we had family for Shabbat dinner. Plus I was ready with some of it in time for a photo, chicken was still in the oven.

Oh, what a week it was!

What will happen next on the Jerusalem streets?

10 New Sounds of Summer in Jerusalem

10 New Sounds of Summer in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel streets are beginning to sound more ‘normal’ as everyone is struggling to come back after the COVID-19 pandemic closings. There have been almost daily protests across from the Knesset and Prime Minister’s Office. Noisy protests and counter-protests near the Prime Minister’s Residence have grown in size and volume.

Image of new moon in the early night sky over Jerusalem

Another month. Another new moon. The first sign of summer was seen in the sky over Jerusalem. A normal sign of passing time.

View of Kotel from webcam as evening as lights go on

The Kotel, Western Wall Plaza, has been divided into prayer spaces, size-dependent on changing regulations.

Kotel for Maariv with COVID_19 sections

Limited numbers of people are allowed in the spaces wearing masks.

Synagogues and businesses are slowly opening also under new health regulations. But I can still set my clock to sounds of the 8:30 am morning minyan coming from a backyard service nearby.

Hotels and restaurants and international tourist affiliated businesses are trying to survive, to revive, and not close forever.

Last week the Prime Minister of Greece came to Jerusalem. But the Foreign Minister from Cyprus decided to arrive in Israel by helicopter for a quick and abbreviated visit in the airport area for discussions with new Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

The numbers for coronavirus infections has started going back up.

However, it is still the graduation season. The President and Prime Minister spoke at the Israeli Air Force graduation last week. The IDF officer graduation is to be held on Wednesday evening. These events are more restricted than usual because of the coronavirus. Taking a helicopter to the bases in the south – what a great way to go.

Jerusalem Israel path in city that looks like forest

This path may seem like far in the forest but it’s minutes away. Sounds of laughter were coming from a party on the right side and an art class was ending on the left side of the path. Sorry, no photos to share. I decided they deserved to keep the privacy they were seeking in this wonderful nature spot.

Valley of Cross in Jerusalem old olive press site near Knesset

Finding a quiet area as restrictions are lifting in Jerusalem is still possible.  These old stones are from an old olive-oil making facility.

Israel Knesset view with Crown Plaza in background

Look across the street in one direction and there is the Knesset.

Old site in the Valley of the Cross near Israel Museum

Another angle with a better view of the olive press.

Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel

And above there is the Israel Museum.

Usually this time of year in Jerusalem the calendar is filled–day and night.

Reuven Rivlin hosts HRH Prince William Duke of Cambridge at Israeli President Residence

Two years ago Prince William was in town.

Guest book of Israel President signed by HRH Prince William in Jerusalem Israel

I had forgotten about his signature in the official guest book.

His Royal visit was the same time as WeWork Creative Event at the Pais Arena.

Those big conferences, big weddings, and big official visits are memories now.

OurCrowd Global Summit this year was one of the last big events to be held in Jerusalem.

OurCrowd Pandemic Innovation Conference was held online as a Zoom and Facebook event.

Remember Elli Q from OurCrowd three years ago?

During the innovation conference online, Dor Skuler mentioned the benefits for isolated seniors. In the US, people will have to pay to install Elli Q to talk to their relatives, however, his robot is available at no charge. I asked and was told “she” is still not in a human shape on purpose.

Remember the tour of Hansen House ten years ago?

Jerusalem Israel Hansen House entrance from outside gate

Hansen House announced ‘Unplugged’ a musical patio series with nine shows now to August 19, with a live audience limited to 120 participants.

Hansen Hospital courtyard

In the past events have been held in the courtyard.

Hansen House at night venue for events

Recently, before corona, food and music at night had become popular.

Romeo and Juliet in Jerusalem Israel Hebrew adaptation

Last year even Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet performed in Hansen House Gardens.

Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra performs after corona virus pandemic closing

The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra was back at the Jerusalem Theater with a live audience and also available on Facebook and YouTube now.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra played at the Jerusalem International Conference Center for the first time since the pandemic closings, but not to a full audience.

Friday afternoon people returned to the First Station for a musical Kabbalat Shabbat.

Signs for musical performances in Jerusalem Israel summer of 2020

New signs are posted for other musical events now and in the near future.

May 4th has been a day for “Star Wars” celebrations – as in “may the ‘fourth’ be with you.” Nothing was done this year because of the COVID-19 closings. It was to be shown at First Station by the Israeli Outpost of 501st Legion at a free special outdoor screening for families of Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back but was canceled shortly before show time.

Israel's 501st Legion outpost members at opening of Afikim seventh run for charity Jerusalem to Eliat

Members were out in force at First Station for the Afikim race from Jerusalem to Eilat in January. I would assume sounds and sabers will be found at the event planned early enough for children to attend and enjoy.

Shaon Horef, those Monday nights in February when sounds of live musicians filled Jerusalem streets, are looking for new acts to do a series on August Monday nights.

Thank you to medical care workers in Jerusalem Israel in Hebrew

Thank you signs to medical workers are still all over the Jerusalem streets.

Sounds of music and celebrations are starting to be heard on the streets.

Let’s hope the numbers of infections stay down.