Jerusalem: A Week of Transitions

After over a year filled with uncertainty and pandemic isolation, followed by rockets and 11 days of the war, we had a week filled with transitions in Jerusalem, Israel.

Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence, has been getting ready for the change of residents for many weeks.

The term of Reuven Rivlin, the tenth President of Israel, is coming to an end. His position of honor in the garden was being prepared months ago.

President-elect Isaac Herzog spoke as head of the Jewish Agency at the last major event before corona that I attended at Beit Hanasi.

However, it was at a bar mitzvah event in a Jerusalem synagogue, where Herzog was impressive. The deaf youngsters had a father or older male standing next to them, except for one 13-year-old in the front row, who stood – alone. Herzog noticed and came over immediately to the help the boy put on tefillin for the first time.

Will there be a transition to a new Prime Minister also this week?

The Netanyahu House gate was open a bit this week. Passing cars slowed to get a glimpse at what is happening behind the new security wall. Will this Jerusalem neighborhood get new full time residents? Stay tuned.

New signs were up for the transition to summer in Jerusalem parks, which include new Shabbat activities for children.

The Israel Festival as I mentioned is underway now and with live events.

New Jerusalem playgrounds have popped up like colorful mushrooms,

and everyday more blue historical information signs,

as the skyline is rising rapidly higher at the entrance to Jerusalem.

The new school for music and the arts is ready for the next school year. This 2021 year, Jerusalem high schoolers had so few days in schools.

The construction work continues to go down as well as up, these pipes were ready to be used under King David Street.

The first section resurfacing between the King David Hotel and YMCA has been showing signs of progress.

Walking around this past week to see what was happening, things felt different. The transition from corona-closed to coming back to life could be felt. The weather was great for walking. Seeing friends after over a year and recognizing them was marvelous.

One visitor to Jerusalem I recognized leaving the Citadel Hotel. Senator Ted Cruz was here on a support mission, as was a group of US rabbis.

People travelled, with lots of paper work and tests, from around the world to attend weddings and family celebrations held in Jerusalem.

A wedding on the Tayelet with the Old City in the background – always a favorite and not to be missed, especially when you have connections to the families for many years.

The umbrellas were back over Yoel Salomon Street for summer fun.

The shops on the street were lit and open again, transitioning back to life.

This one of Jerusalem’s less ‘proper’ streets, is slowly transitioning away from sleazy bars. Walking on the street was an English-speaking couple I guessed were looking for a restaurant one street over.

Yes, lights were up again at night to welcome the visitors downtown.

Ben Yehudah Street store fronts were bright and ready for business again.

While uncertainty and transition surround us daily,

in nature, we see a continuity of transition, pomegranates forming from the blossoms on the trees lining the paths along the Jerusalem streets,

and the wonderful vivid colors of the flowers along those streets.

Hoping to see you all here again soon on the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem: Aventures to the Moon and Back to Earth

Jerusalem: Aventures to the Moon and Back to Earth

The Israeli Prime Minister is on his way to Moscow.

The Israeli President hosts visitors from Greece and Cyprus.

The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet is on its seven-week journey to the moon.

Beresheet capsule ready for launch to moon
SpaceIL

The privately-funded Israeli space capsule was launched from Florida.

If successful, Israel will be the fourth country to land on moon.

Mamilla mall art blue man on ball

Back here on earth, in Jerusalem, in Israel, life is a balancing act.

Highway in Israel

On the one hand, new modern roads stretch for miles over former donkey paths and barren sand.

Jerusalem Israel new hostel

New lodgings in Jerusalem are too many to list now.

Near Jerusalem main bus station man sleeping in tunnel pass under street

But on the first really cold night in awhile, this homeless man was sleeping in the underground passageway to the new Navon fast train station and Jerusalem Central Bus Station.

Opening event at Jerusalem Urban Place cowork space

At the same time, on the fourth floor of the bus station, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion was speaking at the launch of Urban Place, a new co-sharing work space for nearly 100 businesses.

Jerusalem Council Hall at Kikar Safra

Also this week, Lion hosted mayors from around the world at a conference which opened in Kikar Safra, Jerusalem’s City Council Chambers.

Jerusalem Israel construction fence with graffiti

Around Jerusalem, construction fences surround building projects, which descend many stories down into the ground, and are covered with graffiti.

Construction site in Jerusalem Israel

It is always exciting to see when these projects finally reach street level.

Jerusalem street market

Nearby a market on Agrippas Street is busy when weather permits.

Muslim women walking in downtown Jerusalem

But rain or shine people come to the city center to shop.

I was on my way to hear about Arab voting patterns in the upcoming elections.

Israeli elections Arab vote

My only comment on elections, these two men from Abraham Initiatives were well prepared and extremely impressive in their presentation in English.

Elan Carr in Jerusalem Israel speaking at confernce

Also that afternoon, Elan Carr, gave his first major address after being appointed the US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem.

Jewish Agency in Jerusalem

The Jewish Agency Board of Directors also met in Jerusalem this week.

Isaac Herzog speaking about anitsemitism

New head Isaac Herzog also spoke on countering antisemitism.

View near Hansen House in Jerusalem Israel

Meanwhile, a new synagogue building nearby is approaching completion.

When the sun came out after rain, so did the wild flowers in fields of green.

Rechavia view of green and trees Jerusalem Israel

Around Jerusalem, the nature areas are lovely.

Shabbat shalom poster with flowers

But I am not sure these petals will outlast the hard winds blowing up now.

Night view of art work in plaza in Jerusalem Israel across from Mamilla Hotel

At night for the Shaon Horef  I was not sure what this was.

Jerusalem Israel street art piece

The many new street art installations are better appreciated by day.

Art work in Mamilla Mall

Mamilla Mall has some new out-of-the-box, out of this world, art on display.

Mamilla Mall art work with figure reading

At least the sculpture figures are still reading books.

Jerusalem art work on Mamilla Mall at night young woman sitting on art piece

Real people seem to interact more with their phones these days.

The world, politics, and weather seem so uncertain one minute to next.

Jerusalem Israel view toward Jordan from a city office building

But, on a clear day from Jerusalem, you can see still Jordan not so far away.

Urban Place in Jerusalem where adventure begins..

I liked this poster at the end of hall of offices at Urban Place.

“Adventure begins at the end of the road you know.”

Beresheet may or not get to the moon.

But it is still a wonder.

With all the problems, from near and far, amazing what tiny Israel has been able accomplish.

Elan Carr gave such a powerful speech, I thought I would share a few minutes of it.

And to end on a high note, these young Israeli dancers with so much energy are hope for good things in the adventures ahead.

Hard to believe, but much more was happening on the Jerusalem streets this week.