It’s Hanukkah in Jerusalem

Hanukkah is the time of miracles.

While some things were certainly not the same in Jerusalem, Israel, this year,

Jerusalem Liberty Bell Park autumn colors

there were the familiar winter colors in Liberty Bell Park.

Israeli Scouts build near their club house

The Jerusalem Scouts have finally returned and are building again near their moadon, clubhouse.

Israeli Antiquities in Jerusalem

Workers were even seen entering the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel. After a grand opening in 2016, it was locked for a very long time.

GPO Jewish Media Summit Zoom panel

The Jewish Media Summit was held on December 8, and was a Zoom event this year.

In the past, UN Ambassador Danny Danon brought UN Ambassadors to see Israel, but this pandemic year he will settle for hosting them on Wednesday – online.

I am remembering that a year ago at the Jerusalem Biennale ziara was the theme of the large exhibit in the YMCA.  Ziara: Moroccan Common Wisdom, was curated by Amit Hai Cohen. Along with seventeen other artists of Moroccan descent, the display included a wide range of contemporary pieces. The Moroccan heritage of ziara, the feeling of home, contrasts greatly with other Arab countries where Jews were persecuted and expelled, and this week Israel and Morocco announced that they will reopen their liaison offices and in time, establish diplomatic relations. Expect travel to increase to Morocco, as well as to the United Arab Emirates.

Danny Danon said today that he expects more countries to announce they will establish relations with Israel before January 20. There’s clearly a new paradigm in the Middle East.

Hanukiah in Jerusalem near Museum of Tolerance and Friends of Zion Museum

With Jerusalem under coronavirus restrictions and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, I was afraid that I wouldn’t get new photos for Hanukkah, like these favorites, a huge menorah from an inner Jerusalem city plaza,

Hanukia on top of Hadar Mall for sixth night of Hanukkah

or this one on top of Hadar shopping mall.

But I was wrong!

No tiny viral bug was going to stop lights on Hanukkah in Jerusalem.

Western Wall menorah lighting first night of Hanukkah 2020 corona restricted

Attendance at the lighting of the large golden menorah near the Kotel, Western Wall, is restricted, but accessible to all online. On the first night, people were divided into socially distanced sections, with live music, and the Chief Sephardic Rabbi lit the oil lamps.

Jaffa Gate large menorah on Hanukkah with Tower of David in background

The traditional large Hanukah menorah is back near Jaffa Gate.

Without international tourists due to corona, popular sites are not crowded as usual.

However, again Jerusalem is encouraging Israelis to come and visit.

Jerusalem streets signs to Celebrate Hanukkah in Jerusalem

Signs are up for celebrating Hanukkah in Jerusalem – check the website – HERE

Large Menorah near Jerusalem Nayot Park for Hanukkah

Public Hanukkah lightings are held nightly, (well the sign says 4:30 pm) here at Nayot Park, and multiple other community outdoor locations.

But in Jerusalem, even private homes have their menorahs or chanukiot, on display, here on an outer gate to a Jerusalem street, for all to see the lights.

So what’s new?

Two young men walk by Tzahal Square new Hanukkah menorah in background

There’s a large modern chanukiah near the walls of the Old City.

Hanukah menorah in flower bed near Jerusalem Bloomfield Garden

A floral menorah with a dreydel on each side near Bloomfield Park and the Montefiore Windmill. Plus, I hear there is also another on the Tayelet.

Jerusalem traffic circle Hanukkah menorah for holiday

And on Jerusalem traffic circles,

Hanukkah menorah in restaurant table, outside as restaurant closed for COVID10

even with restaurants closed now, there was one on the street where people could take out food and eat outside.

Jerusalem street signs to keep city clean

There are new signs to keep Jerusalem streets clean! That yellow thing is a banana peel and a plastic bottle was on another.

Man sitting in new Jerusalem outdoor area

There are multiple new areas to encourage sitting and enjoying nature.

Three young actresses performing on street theaters closed

With theaters closed during this pandemic year, three young actresses from Nurit Katzir Theater were performing on Jaffa Road on Friday.

So far the weather in Jerusalem has been pleasant to get out and about.

This year, Nes Gadol Haya Po, a special concert for Hanukkah by the Jerusalem Symphony will be broadcast online at 9:00 pm IT, December 15, details can be found HERE.

Restrictions due to coronavirus have limited inside gatherings, but have not stopped Hanukkah celebrations on the Jerusalem streets.

Even in a pandemic, there are plans for the annual candle lighting each night in Mamilla Mall, and tonight there is an event at First Station.

Now is a good time to remember, the famous menorah at Yad Vashem:

Hanukkah menorah display in Yad Vashem of photo and real menorah from Germany with Nazi flag in background

In 1932, Rachel Posner wrote in German, on the back of her photograph, “Their flag wishes to see the death of Judah, but Judah will always survive, and our light will outlast their flag.” In 1934, the Posners left Kiel, Germany for Israel.
Man and daughter looking at Hanukkah menorah outside

From generation to generation, the Hanukkah candles lit up dark nights.

Jerusalem is hosting events all week, hope to get out at night to the see.

https://youtu.be/4gFfRaR2XyM

The light projections and music near Jaffa Gate from 2016 were special.

Happy Hanukah poster color projection on wall of Jerusalem Old City near Jaffa Gate in 2016.

We still have 5 more nights of Hanukkah. Check back next week to see the best of Hanukkah on the Jerusalem streets.

Meanwhile, stay well.

חג חנוכה שמח

Jerusalem, Israel Diverse and Democratic

Jerusalem, Israel Diverse and Democratic

Jerusalem, Israel is a busy place in the winter holiday season.

“It is no surprise that both the Jewish and Christian traditions share holidays of light – the light of faith and hope, even in the face of darkness…

As guardians of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, the State of Israel is committed to religious freedom for all,” said President Reuven Rivlin.

“Jerusalem must serve as a model for peace and harmony between religions.”

Jerusalem Israel for Hanuka at Old City Jaffa Gate near Tower of David

This past week Hanukkah was celebrated in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jerusalem lights on Agron Street for Hanukkah

Also this year Hanukkah coincided with the Christmas holiday season.

Neutral lighting lined some of the major streets.

Hebrew University had no classes on December 25th.

construction on Jerusalem Gaza Street backed up in morning

Traffic volume plus street repairs created backups even when the sun was shining.

In the rain? Forget getting anywhere in the usual amount of time!

Jerusalem Israel YMCA Christmas tree in lobby

In the past inside the YMCA was a sure bet for finding a holiday tree and decorations.

Jerusalem Christmas decorations at YMCA

This year the outside tree was decorated and additional lights placed at the entrance.

Suffganiot and Christmas tree at First Station

This year at First Station along with those Hanukkah donuts there was a Christmas tree.

Hanuka and Christmas in Jerusalem Israel

The banner sign at First Station next to the Hanukkah menorah had greetings for Hanukkah and Christmas.

Jerusalem Hotel in Old City with Christmas light

The lights at night in the Old City were bright inside of Jaffa Gate.

Santa in Jerusalem Israel for Christmas

That Santa Claus was not out at night when I looked for him, but he appeared in his annual spot near Jaffa Gate the next day.

Jerusalem Israel New Gate decorated for Christmas holiday

Inside the New Gate decorations greeted the holiday crowds to the Christian Quarter and churches.

Lights on Jerusalem Israel French Hospital at night in holiday season

Outside of the Old City walls, the lights on the St. Lous French Hospital brightened it up at night.

Jerusalem December Holiday crowds

The holiday week crowds filled the narrow streets in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City.

It’s official. A record number of holiday tourists were on the Jerusalem streets this year.

Israeli president cat in Beit Hanasi garden

At Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence, the Presidential cat was watching over the grounds at the annual New Year reception for the heads of the Christian denominations in Israel.

An Israeli police officer taking a group photograph for New Year reception

Inside at the reception guests posed and smiled for photos.

Christian leaders in Israel at Israeli President's Residence for annual New Year Reception

Israeli Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri;  the acting Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; the representative of the Armenian Patriarchate; head of the Franciscan Order in Jerusalem, the Custos of the Holy Land; and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church Archeparch of Akka (Akko) were among the participants.

Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem spoke on behalf of the religious leaders.

In his remarks President Rivlin invited the Pope to the dedication ceremony for the Land of the Monasteries project in 2020, saying:

“We are about to finish clearing all of the mines from the Land of the Monasteries at the very beginning of the coming year. Already the number of Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land is increasing each year. Just this year, close to 900,000 pilgrims visited the Land of Monasteries. We are working hard to complete the development of the entire area by the end of 2020.”

Land mines placed in old buildings for security near Jordan River Kasser-Al -Yahud

As part of this initiative, land mines laid in the 1970s for security reasons, which prevented access to the area, have been cleared.

Kasser Al Yahud area building of old

The process has been an ongoing project in the ancient area, which has been under development to a new tourist center for years.

Kasser al Yahud Israeli and Jordanian border

The area is called Qasr-Al-Yahud where the Jordan River is divided between Jordan and Israel.

Interior Minister MK Rabbi Aryeh Deri at Israeli President's house for new year reception for Christian leaders

Minister of the Interior, Aryeh Deri: “Freedom of worship and religion in Jerusalem, the Holy City, will be preserved for all and we will continue to preserve Jerusalem as the Holy City for all religions. Unfortunately, we live in an era when antisemitism raises its head around the world, most recently in the terrible incident in Monsey, New York. We must all fight antisemitism wherever it occurs, and we must all reject and condemn it in a loud and clear voice against any outbreak of antisemitism and violence.”

Israeli president shaking hands at new year reception with christian leaders

In his remarks, the President once again repeated, “We must remember that we are not doomed to live together, we are destined to live together, and we, therefore, must advance initiatives which will benefit all of us.”

“In a few weeks, I will host leaders from around the world at Yad Vashem, to commemorate seventy-five years to the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and to call on all humanity, to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, and fight antisemitism and hate.”

Antisemitism is becoming more blatant around the world.

Meanwhile, the Israeli leadership has become more “relaxed” and welcoming to religious diversity in Jerusalem with more neutral holiday lights and greetings, and enticing more Christian pilgrims to Qsar-Al-Yahud and other locations.

Some will find this very positive.

Others will find it the opposite.

The discussion of Israel, Jewish and democratic and diverse, will not cease with a new government.

But I will end with something new for me, I had to take out the video for this one.

Always something new on the Jerusalem streets.

 

Jerusalem Biggest and Best of Hanukkah

Jerusalem Biggest and Best of Hanukkah

Jerusalem, Israel, for Hanukkah is a very special place.

This year, more than in past years, there were more tourists and more things to do.

New events were planned, though some got rained out.

As the eighth-day ebbs, here are some favorites of the biggest and best Jerusalem happenings.

Hanukkah paper goods for party in Jerusalem

Jerusalem paper goods stores were ready long before Hanukkah, with all you needed for your table and parties.

Hanukkah suffganiot rising in a bakery in Jeremiahs Israel

Jerusalem bakeries had sufganiyot, donuts rising by the tens of thousands.

Hanukiah at Beit Hanasi

Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence had a large hanukkiah, Hanukkah menorah, ready outside for all to see.

There were dozens of hanukkiot, Hanukkah menorahs. placed on street corners.

Around Jerusalem and the world, Lubavitch-Habad emissaries put a hanukkiah in public squares.

Chabad chanukiah in Jerusalem near Israeli President's Residence

This one near Beit Hanasi was at Schneurshohn Square on the third night of Hanukkah.

Photo of Lubavitcher Rebbe with Chanukah in style of Ramban yle of Rmaban.

These Hanukkah menorahs come in all sorts of styles and shapes now, but this style hanukkiah was preferred by the late Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Jerusalem candle lighting at Mamilla Mall

At Jerusalem’s Mamilla Mall a large one has been lit for the past eight years.

Mamilla Mall Hanuka candle lighting crowd with live music

Huge crowds come to Jerusalem for the lighting and live music and free sufganiyot.

Jerusalem’s Mamilla Mall was full of tourists and holiday celebrants most nights.

Mamilla Mall on Hanukkah woman with puppet taking video with musician

Musicians, in more than one location, even a woman with a hand puppet making a video were entertaining holiday-goers in Mamilla Mall.

Hanukkah cafe with Arab women sitting and eating.

With tens of thousands of people crowding, pushing, standing in line to buy sufganiyot, these Arab women found a quiet table in a Mamilla cafe.

Jaffa Gate at night in Jerusalem Israel

Jerusalem’s Old City is an annual best-of Hanukkah. Near Jaffa Gate, the signs were up for special events.

Hanukkah in the Old City lights on wall of Tower of David

Light projections of a hanukkiah were screened on the wall of the Tower of David.

Large Hanukia outside a home in the Old City Jerusalem

In the Old City at night,  hanukkiot both large

Jerusalem Old City on Hanuka street with four hanukiot on wall as boy walks past

of more modest size are lit outside of homes. These four were in special boxes mounted on the stone wall.

Hanukiah at the Kotel for Hanukkah

This large hanukkiah was again placed next to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

I tried to get a clear view, but men and boys were posing continuously for photos.

Kotel Plaza on Hanuka with crowd and sign on Western Wall building

The crowds on the Kotel Plaza, both by day and by night, were impressive.

Wedding on Hanuka and couple gets photos at Kotel

But crowded or not, wedding photos were taken. Many weddings were held during the busy holiday time, to be celebrated with international guests.

Signs outside Aish Hatorah building on Hanuka

One way to get a view of the Kotel and area is from the Aish HaTorah building. This Happy Chanukah Bear was at the entrance to the rooftop observation deck

Jerusalem Old City man on bike with a menorah riding through narrow street

On a street in the Jewish Quarter, there was even a hanukkiah on a bicycle.

Hanuka menorah on top of train in Old City Jerusalem

If you looked carefully, there was another one on top of the Old City tourist train.

Free shuttle bus from Old City to First Station in Jerusalem

That train cost money to ride, but the shuttle vans from First Station to Old City are free.

They could be the only thing in Jerusalem that runs on time, on the hour, and every 20 minutes.

But they do not make stops, and they go from First Station straight to the gate nearest the Kotel.

Oh, I felt sorry for the tourists from England who found out too late and were taken far away from where they wanted to be.

Indoor activity in Jerusalem Israel new for Hanuka

At First Station, there is a new attraction. Jump Up opened before the holiday season.

Jerusalem First Startion Jump in Hanger

With rainy, rainy days of Hanuka and holiday from school, Jump Up should have been really jumping.

Fast train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem ticket from one of first riders

The big excitement this Hanuka! Another miracle. The fast train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was running. It took over 10 years. But the ride was 32 minutes!

Jerusalem residents one hour free parking sign at Kikar Safra

Another excitement for Jerusalem residents, one-hour free parking! This sign was posted on the main municipal building below the Mayor’s office.

Orange Lamborghini in Jerusalem parking lot on Chanuak

Perhaps free parking is not the first thing this car owner thinks of?

This orange Lembourgini matched nicely with the graffiti art.

Could it be the priciest Hanukkah gift of all?

Hanukkah events for Jerusalem nights ad signs

Big signs for a new Hanukkah Festival of Lights were displayed around the center of town.

Hanukkah Sameach on Museum of Tolerance for Hanuka

This festival light projection was shining on the yet to open Museum of Tolerance.

Across the way was a new larger than life hanukkiah with music.

Shuk on Hanuka and candles lit in a store

A more modest hanukkiah in the Machane Yehudah Market shop had candles burning.

Jerusalem Israel rainy night on Jaffa Road

Outside, the rain had kept away the crowds and dampened the streets.

But inside the restaurant was full and candle lighting added to the warm party atmosphere.

Lighting Chanukah candles at dedication of Studio of her Own on Hanuka

At Jerusalem gatherings of all sorts, as this dedication of Studio of Her Own, a women’s art center, candles were lit.

Suffganiah on Hanuka at Jerusalem family holiday party

Ah, that first bite on the first night,

First candle, first night of Hanuka as child watches the flames

or the first light on the first night.

The Greeks are long gone.

Scene of Jerusalem Cardo in time of Rome

The Romans of the Cardo are long gone.

But the Jerusalem streets and crowds at Mamilla Mall on Hanukkah were going strong.

Much more was happening over Hanukkah on the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem Hanuka menorah near Friends of Zion Museum

I hope you enjoyed a few highlights and this the biggest of Jerusalem Holiday of Lights.

Remember last year’s favorites?

Many are the same, to see you can click  HERE