Jerusalem Remembering in Time of COVID19

Jerusalem Remembering in Time of COVID19

In Jerusalem, Israel, as in most of the world, these have been unusual days,

days during which we have learned not to take things for granted,

Passover holidays in isolation and coronavirus shut-down.

Building cranes moving again after Passover and coronavirus stop

After seeing them upright for days and unlit at night, I was excited to see the building cranes from the Jerusalem Gateway project moving again in the evening sky.

Jerusalem two people walking on path coronavirus time

Slowly people began venturing out, walking on the path in a city.

Kotel on Friday Rosh Chodesh Iyar during coronavirus

The Kotel, Western Wall Plaza had a new arrangement on Friday Rosh Chodesh Iyar.

Kotel on Friday Rosh Chodesh Iyar during COVID 19

Prayer sections were set for regulated separation and distancing.

But, I am not sure how they managed in the rain Shabbat morning.

Knesset lights on before announcement of unity government

Oh, the excitement of seeing lights come on in the Knesset building as a unity government was being announced. So excited I only noticed later, that the large flag was down as Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 5780 was about to begin.

The symbolic memorial flame in place at the edge of the roof and small Israeli flags had been put in place.

However, this year will have little resemblance to last year’s celebrations with flames and flags.

Traffic stop with police wearing masks COVID 19

As I went out on the porch to get ready for the Yom HaShoah memorial siren, police wearing masks and blue gloves were stopping traffic.

Bus stopped for police check during coronavirus

Even the Jerusalem city bus was stopped and did not breeze through.

Some travel and work restrictions have been lifted.

A student driver with the symbol of the learner car was in the lineup.

Seconds before the 10:00 am siren, all the traffic was let by.

The officers stood quietly in respect of the two-minute memorial siren.

Jerusalem Israel street traffic at police check Corona

They then started checking cars again before moving on to another location.

I was so focused on the traffic stop, I did not notice at first that flags were up over the street as usual for the holiday season. At least one thing was “normal” in this year of isolation and coronavirus.

A highlight of the crazy isolation day was a special Jerusalem volunteer project.

plant as a present from the city of Jerusalem.
From Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum

Today every Holocaust survivor in Jerusalem will have a volunteer standing outside their door during the siren at 10am so they don’t feel alone and wii receive a plant as a gift from the city of Jerusalem. Thanks to Mayor Moshe Lion for this moving initiative during times of Corona and well done to Nicky Cregor for executing this great project: as per Fleur Hassan-Hahoun on social media.

Israeli flag for Independence Day

One neighbor had their Israeli flag out for Yom HaZikaron, Remembrance Day, and Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day.

Music for diplomats at Beit Hanasi Independence day

However, In light of the restrictions on movement to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the celebrations for Israel’s 72nd Independence Day to be held at Beit HaNasi this year and the other locations will be recorded and broadcast, not live. I was planning to go, those were quite impressive and fun celebrations in the past.

Oh well, more seriously, families will not be allowed to military cemeteries as usual.

Bereaved families have been asked to make reduced visits to cemeteries in the days before Yom HaZikaron, Remembrance Day, subject to social distancing restrictions.

Independence Day site on Har Herzl in Jerusalem

A general lockdown – similar to that which applied during Passover – will be imposed on Independence Day. The site at Har Herzl for Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day celebration was already well under construction at the beginning of March. That event also was pre-recorded, there will be no huge crowded stands as in the past or all day picnics and trips.

This year it’s back to small private parties and pleasures. We have a new package of hot dogs in the freezer. Maybe it’s time to clean up the backyard grill and just Zoom with friends and family.

Sting Bridge in Jerusalem at entrance to city

The cold winter rains and cloudy skies are over for now and the String Bridge near the entrance of Jerusalem can be seen on a clear day. You never know what will happen (or not happen) next on the Jerusalem streets, as the Municipality is planning major musical productions throughout the city. And fireworks in some neighborhoods. But count on closures for the usual holiday travel time.

When planes fly over Jerusalem to practice for a Yom HaZikaron flyover Har Herzl Military Cemetery, people got excited and ran out to see.  Good thing there were multiple flights and I was finally able to get a bit of video. Oh, they are loud and so very fast.

For Yom Haatzmaut, the President has a special message and a chance to have him come to your home in a hologram. 

For now, you can take a tour of Bet HaNasi garden from anywhere in the world.

Weather extremes. Hot. Cold and wet. Sand filling the air, turning the sky yellow on Friday.

And we can keep on Zooming along, until next time.

Best of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut in Jerusalem

Best of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel, for the Yoms 

as usual was overloaded with events,

 many this year influenced in anticipation of

Celebrating 50 years liberation of Jerusalem

50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem.

Israeli flags are draped down the sides of buildings.

Israeli flags Israel Museum for memorial and Independence day

These are at the Israel Museum entrance

where the dome of the Shrine of the Book can be seen.

Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Remembrance Day

for fallen soldiers and victims of terror,

began Sunday night with memorials throughout Israel,

and were accompanied by prayers, speeches and memorial flames.

The official state ceremony seen live on television,

was held at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

where President Reuven Rivlin lit the memorial light.

Ammunition Hill on Israel Memorial Day

Sponsored by the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin,

a memorial service was held at Givat HaTachmoshet, Ammunition Hill,

the site of deadly fighting to defend Jerusalem in 1967.

The program in English was live-streamed

and seen by over 16,000 people around the world.

All day Monday, tens of thousands of Israelis visited cemeteries.

Cemetery Jerusalem 1948-49

This cemetery has many graves from 1948-1950,

 the first years that Jews could not get to

the Mount of Olives due to the Jordanian occupation

and had to find new places to bury their dead.

One man standing by old grave in Jerusalem cemetery on Yom Hazikaron

On Yom HaZikaron, a man prayed by a grave.

Israeli military grave on Yom HaZikaron

A small Israeli flag with a black ribbon attached,

and small bunch of flowers, yizkor, remembers

Flowers, Israeli flag and black yizkor ribbon on 1948 grave

those much too young who died in war.

The cemetery is next to Harel Garden

Memorial wreath at Harel Garden Memotial

and Memorial wall, where this lone wreath was placed.

Walk around the memorial and you can see

At Harel Memorial distance to Gush Etzion lost in 1948 to Jordan

that Gush Etzion is 16 kilometers from Cinema City and

the Israeli Supreme Court and government offices.

Israel Yom HaZikaron at Har Herzel end of day

Tens of thousands came to Har Herzl Military Cemetery

during the day, to place flowers and to mourn,

remembering those lost to war and terror.

Woman sitting near graves of Har Herzl military cemetery Yom Hazikron

The crowds thinned at end of day,

Two soldiers walking on Har Herzl Cemetery

and all headed home from the Har Herzl Military Cemetery.

But as the sun set,

on another part of Har Herzl,

Stage ready for Yom Haaztmaut official televised program

the lights went on this huge stage,

celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day.

This year for the first time two non-Israelis were selected

with the honor of lighting one of the 12 memorial flames,

Rabbi Marvin Hier and Michael Steinhardt,

Two US honorees in Israeli ceremony

seen here before the official program began.

The show is telecast live and seen by thousands,

Show for Yom Haatmaut ceremony

but watching on TV you could not see them remove

the circle of fire used in one production number.

It is an extravaganza with set rituals,

Israel Independence day starts with lighting of ceremony torch

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat broke with tradition

when he joined with Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein

to light the official flame of Israel’s Independence Day.

waving flags and cheering

Seats were at a premium, the flag waving,

 cheering crowd did not need a lot of encouragement.

One of 12 torch lighters Chana Henkin

Besides the two Americans, I wanted to see Rabbanit Chana Henkin

 who was honored as one of the twelve torch lighters,

one for each tribe of Israel.

Dr Ahmad Eid speaks at Yom Haatzmaut ceremony

Dr. Ahmed Eid, an Arab doctor, was another honoree.

Military with flags at ceremony on Yom Haatzmaut on Har Herzl

The program featured songs and military colors.

Soldiers form a Jewish star during official ceremony for Yom Haatzmaut

For this shot, no seat in the stands would work,

Sunset at Har Herzl camera over head

only this overhead camera would do.

Afterwards celebrations went all night,

in too many locations to list, with prayers, songs and dancing.

Music for diplomats at Beit Hanasi Independence day

The next day at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence,

 120 outstanding soldiers were honored in the morning

Front row Beit Hanasi on Yom Haatzmaut

and in the afternoon rows of diplomats came,

Yom Haatazmaut at Beit Hanasi

along with one young Presidential grandson,

to pay their respects to Israel and hear the Prime Minister

and President speak on theme,”next year in Jerusalem.”

While the heads of consuls and foreign military were at Beit Hanasi,

Gan Sacher Yom Haatzmaut

thousands of Israelis were in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park.

Lone Soldier Center mangal Yom Haatzmaut

Most of the green spaces all over the country were full of Israelis.

On the radio were announcements of crowded roads to JNF parks.

Couch brought to Gan Sacher

This family brought a couch to Gan Sacher,

which is one way to make your holiday mangal, BBQ, feel like home.

I know this is getting way too long,

but there was so much more,

like the Bible Competition, free museums, and performances.

festive meals, and those IDF flyovers and stunts.

Israel, after 69 years

as President Rivlin said, is young for a country,

 under constant threat and repeated attacks,

yet has accomplished so much.

So it was,

Flowers at Beit Hanasi 69

from memorials to celebrating independence,

so much happening in Jerusalem.