Jerusalem Old & New August Sights and Sounds of Summer Nights

Jerusalem, Israel, is in the midst of a mid-August heat wave.

Walking around the Jerusalem streets during the day is a challenge.

But where did the summer go, this week is Rosh Chodesh Elul!

Pomegranates growing on trees along the Jerusalem streets are a familiar sight. Those who want to save their best fruits cover them to protect the pomegranates from birds getting to eat the ripe fruit first.

A very new, long-time coming sight is the new Bezalel Arts Campus.

The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design on the new Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Bezalel Campus opened its doors to the public.  Initially proposed in 2013, the School for the Arts broke ground in 2015.

The entrance lobby is an example of the vast modern structure of glass, cement, and Jerusalem stone constructed on multiple levels.

Brand-new sewing machines were piled into the clothing design section.

There is a store to buy student work, as well as a theater, synagogue, and mosque along with classrooms for instruction.

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A mini-market was also open to the public.

Until August 18th, the halls are lined with student graduation projects.

Industrial design has all kinds of equipment for students to create projects. Each arts division has its own space with impressive modern facilities for instruction and endless prospects for creativity.

Something for everyone, including the restrooms.

Oh, and the view!

From the balcony off of the food court can be seen the neighboring Underground Museum building,

and oh what a great new view of Jerusalem from above.

Another great view, but not so new, is from Bloomfield Gardens across Yemin Moshe to the Old City walls.

It was here that the annual August Shakespeare in Motion was back with a unique production of Julius Caesar this year.

Live audiences each night find a spot on the park grounds.

This show had a chorus that added musical and humorous bits

because remember Julius Caesar is a tragedy of death and deception.

To be or not to be, Caesar is stabbed to death.

But not to worry this Caesar joined the cast for a final bow on the first night.

More of the Shakespeare in Motion production HERE

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And then there’s Hutzot Hayotzer, the Arts and Crafts Festival, held in August in Jerusalem in the Sultan’s Pool near the Arts and Crafts Colony.

This year inflatable balloons lined much of the park area near the Old City.

Thousands attend musical concerts each night in the huge outdoor theater.

The food court has expanded to the area where the international crafts had been. It was so crowded one would assume they were giving food away, but no – you pay to enter, pay to eat, and pay even more for the concert seats.

There were local craft folks selling, along with internationals, including Indonesia, but with less emphasis on the international booths this year,

More of the Hutzot Hayotzer HERE

Israelis may be traveling by the tens of thousands overseas in August for the long summer holiday. But you would never know it in Jerusalem near the Old City. Even a bus from Nirvana could not avoid the traffic jams with the honking of car horns.

Trying to get parking in the area for the Sami Rohr Prize, held at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, was a challenge. The Sami Rohr prize winner, this year for fiction, was Iddo Gefen for Jerusalem Beach.

Gefen spoke after a panel discussion that included the other prize finalists and translators.

David Wolpe did an admirable job of leading the evening program.

The dairy dessert buffet after the program was elaborate. However, I was too busy tasting the treats and talking with long-time friends, and meeting new people to photograph the multiple stations.

More of the Sami Rohr Prize photos HERE

Something new these August nights for the public to see, so I went early the first night. I saw no one and no projectors. Concerned right place and the right time? Yes, see those 3 tiny cameras in the center of the photo?

They project, at 8:30 pm, on the building, check it out on King George Street.

Every night, all night, there are people coming and going at Jaffa Gate to the Old City and Kotel, Western Wall.

As always more, much more to see on the Jerusalem streets to share in one post. A few more HERE.

I do love that most nights cool off even though the days are so warm. Not sure about this week as this end-of-August heat wave hits and temperatures soar.

A stroll thru Mamilla Mall is always an option, until next time…

I love Jerusalem.

World Zionist Organization Meets in Jerusalem – What you did not see

The preparations for Israel to celebrate 75 years were well underway. Thousands of visitors arrived and came for the celebrations to be held for Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.

Jerusalem street signs were up celebrating independence on all the corners of the city, plus parks and museums, and theaters.

In a prelude to the day, the World Zionist Organization held its Extraordinary Zionist Congress in the Jerusalem International Conference Center from April 19-21, 2023.

Newly elected WZO President Tova Dorfman opened the first plenary.

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People came from all over the globe for these political meetings of the 39th World Jewish Congress.

The American Zionist Movement held a special lunch meeting on the first day with Avi Mayer, the new editor of the Jerusalem Post, speaking and answering questions.

Also the first day in the afternoon, the Herzl Forum met at the ICC for a gathering of social and business, tech, and innovation leaders.

The second day opened with a program highlighting 125 years of Zionism.

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Networking, meeting new people, and catching up with long-time friends after the pandemic closed down tourism to Jerusalem were highlights.

Thursday morning the WZC delegates were a wide offered a variety of tours. However, one group decided instead to march with Israeli flags to the Knesset to protest the government.

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As buses returned, a buffet lunch was served.

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The first WZC afternoon plenary began with an award to Avraham Duvdevani. Duvdev, as he is well known, was one of the soldiers who liberated Jerusalem in 1967.  As an Israeli politician and activist, he has served both as the chairman of the WZO and chairman of the Jewish National Fund. Yaakov Hagoel, WZO Chairman made the presentation.

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As Duvdev returned from the stage to his seat, people got up from their seats and crowded around to congratulate him.

And then…the balagan began as the plenary vote on resolutions opened.

The stenographer trying to record the discussions could not keep up with the commotion on stage as the presidium decided to leave for Rabin Hall.

The Rabin Hall was one of many meeting rooms in the Convention Center renamed for this conference.

Meanwhile, in the main auditorium, delegates shouted “busha’ as it got later and later and I and many others had to leave.

However, what you did not see or hear about was another group meeting.

At the same time the “adults’ were disrupting, and continued to do so into the next day to protest the presence of MK Simcha Rothman in the building,

a youth conference for informal education and young leadership was held in the Convention Center. The 1000 young Israelis had the opportunity to meet with young people from around the world.

The enthusiastic delegates aged 18-23 represented 14 global Zionist youth movements from an impressive variety of countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Mexico, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Great Britain, South Africa, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Venezuela, Sweden, Denmark, and Israel.

They met and talked and interacted in large groups with translation provided, and ate lunch together in smaller groups.

They had panel discussions in various languages, here in English

and also Spanish for example.

While the World Zionist Congress ended with shouts of busha being heard,

the Youth Congress ended with the singing of Am Yisrael Chai.

An Extraordinary World Congress to celebrate Israel at 75.

With hope for the future with those Zionist Youth Leaders who were in Jerusalem from around the world meeting in the same Jerusalem International Conference Center. Hope they enjoyed their time on the Jerusalem streets and come back soon and often.