See What’s Happening in Jerusalem – 6 months since October 7

April 7, 2024, in Jerusalem, Israel.

Over the Jerusalem streets, the sun is shining. The weather is a bit cool.

Six months after the brutal murders of over 1,200 people in Israel by invaders from Gaza on the holiday Shabbat is still hard to comprehend.

However, while remembering that there are still 134 hostages captive in Gaza, we try to move forward. Under the constant shadow of war, with tens of thousands of people from the south and north unable to return home for the Passover holidays, with an uncertain future, struggling to be joyous in some fashion.

The new National Library of Israel (NLI) has become a popular site, especially impressive at night.

Included in the new video presentation for visitors with information is the quote, “If you have gone to the library a dozen times to look at the books, go once to look at the people.” – Martin Buber

I have not gone a dozen times yet, but even before it opened. and each time there is something new to see.

On Thursday night, I caught NLI Rector Shai Nitzan and CEO Oren Weinberg seated near the video having a conversation.

The Batim M’befnim, Open Houses Jerusalem, is an annual event, previously held at the end of October. As Mayor Moshe Lion welcomed guests at the NLI to the opening event, he mentioned the decision to move forward in the spring opening hundreds of locations to the public.

Open Houses Jerusalem used to be called Houses From Within.

I vividly remember one of my first experiences years ago when they opened the gates at Hansen House for the first time and had a tour inside. Oh, how Hansen House has changed!

The Mayor spoke briefly in Hebrew and English, for the benefit of leading Israeli architects and visiting international tourism professionals in the crowd.

The dairy food was presented inside in the lobby before the Mayor arrived,

and the dessert display outside was also photo-worthy and tasted as good as it looked.

An NLI tour was offered to various groups. I was in the white group, which was in English, and included international visitors from India, the US, and Italy.

The modern automated stacks of over 4 million books are impressive even when not in operation.

Across the small viewing room stands this relic, with a warning not to get close, a reminder of the library of days past, for my librarian and researcher friends.

Going out to the Jerusalem streets this week were lovely sights and signs of spring.

But the closed-off street near the Prime Minister’s home is making the headlines.

Closed hours before protesters, at least we could walk by Azza Street.

New large posters were calling for Unity Now.

And the better slogan, #LetThemGoNOW was on display over a major Jerusalem street.

This week I went on a press visit to Shefayim, in the hotel dining room where survivors of Kfar Aza are presently living, a table is set for their kidnapped members.

After months, some of the young families have been moved out of hotel rooms into small buildings made for them to have a little more space, as it will be a long time until they can return to Kfar Aza.

As we walked away from meeting the distraught family members of the kidnapped hostages, the fog was settling in, time for one more photo before heading back to Jerusalem.

I

n the National Library’s main reading room, the display for the Bibas family children draws attention.

But, after hearing Doron Steinbrecher’s mother’s anguished appeal to international media

and Gali and Ziv Berman’s brother speaking, I decided to share their photos displayed in the library again.

The world concern for Israelis held captive in Gaza must constantly be raised. It’s been 6 months too long.

April it’s spring!

The Jerusalem streets look to nature with music and workshops planned in parks.

Passover the holiday celebrating freedom is in two weeks.

Wondering how many visitors will fill the Jerusalem streets this year?

Favorite Purim Photos in Jerusalem and More

The weeks feel as if they are whizzing by, and standing still at the same time.

How can that be?

Live goes on while too many lives are stuck on October 7.

Downtown Jerusalem streets looked “normal” today with the sun shining and people shopping.

On Shushan Purim, Monday last week, the light rail was not running, there was a special Purim parade.

Call it an ‘Ad lo ya do‘ or Purim United – tens of thousands of people came out for the holiday celebration.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and his wife with hostage family members were first carrying a banner stating ‘redemption of captives is a great mitzvah’ in a giant balloon yellow ribbon.

The weather was threatening some of the time and the pace moved slower than a turtle,

But there were large puppets and people lining the Jerusalem streets to watch.

Interesting displays held by numerous people

and some spectators dressed more colorfully than the parade items.

Families in coordinated costumes waited for the parade to move along.

But street actors were on the sidelines as well to entertain.

In the media we read complaints, but the people I saw were happy to smile for the camera.

Some had their cameras ready to capture the moment.

All of Jaffa Street was crowded and waiting for what was coming next.

Not everyone walked the route, these two women had a special place to sit and ride.

This lion got a lot of pre-Purim publicity, but I had trouble getting a good photo as it moved along.

In this upside-down world, this clown was appreciated.

But I got distracted by a family, in the Purim spirit dressed in coordinated leopard spots.

At the beginning of the Purim Unity parade was a clock with the time of hostages captive in Gaza.

The donkey float, on which the Moshiach is to arrive, was surrounded by Chabad flags.

More photos of the Purim Unity parade on Facebook HERE.

This was seen in traffic on a Jerusalem street on the way home, Purim was celebrated this year, even though a somewhat subdued Purim.

Ramadan and Muslim prayers midday have attracted large crowds for the third Friday in a row. Tales of restrictions were not evident at Jaffa Gate. It was also Good Friday, and Sunday Easter was celebrated.

New art is on display at Mamilla Mall, the Beatles on a Yellow Submarine caught my attention- All you need is love. Ah if it was only so simple.

OPEN HOUSE JERUSALEM 2024 This year’s festival includes hundreds of tours and houses connecting the past, present, and future on consecutive weekends, April 4-6 and April 11-13, 2024. Fascinating tours and activities throughout the capital are free, but some need prior registration.

I was in Tel Aviv this past week for a Jerusalem Post – Women Leaders Summit.

As the sun was setting, this caught my attention – Together we will succeed!

Time marches on.

In Jerusalem and Tel Aviv,

Purim is over, Passover is a month away.

Wonder what will be happening next on the Jerusalem streets, check back next week to see.

Favorite Photos of the International Jerusalem Marathon 2024

The International Jerusalem Winner Marathon was held on Friday morning March 8, 2024.

The Jerusalem Municipality decided to hold the annual marathon as planned, as a tribute to the IDF, security forces, and rescue teams, aiming to strengthen social resilience during the ongoing war on the southern and northern fronts.

As for the past 14 years, I was out there to see the thousands of people on the Jerusalem streets.

This is the 13th year of the full Jerusalem marathon, but before that, there was a half-marathon race.

Less than 48 hours before the first full marathon was run there was a deadly bombing in Jerusalem.

In 2011, the weather was a negative factor, as the grounds in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, flooded with mud.

This year the weather was ideal and cool as the lead runners went past the 7-kilometer mark on their way on the 42.2 K route around the new and ancient Jerusalem streets.

Place markers for a finish time of 3 1/2 hours were blue for the full marathon blue number tags.

It is just the beginning of the full marathon and this part of the race was similar to past years.

But this year there were more Israeli flags, and more IDF runners, one even ran in full uniform.

Women participate enthusiastically on pace with the men.

There were fewer international full marathon runners, but some local regulars were back on course.

Some appreciated having their photo taken, as this man wearing a tee shirt “Run for their Lives” group.

The Pineapple Marathon Runner was back again this year,

yes, he runs international marathons with a pineapple on his head.

There were fewer full marathon runners this year, but still plenty of excitement

and new colored shirts for new groups.

Marathoners ran in pairs,

or pushing a stroller,

it did not feel like there were fewer runners as they kept coming.

The young people giving out water along the way were enthusiastic as always.

The red on his number indicated half-marathon and he could have been the winner, the first one I saw.

And another leader of the half marathon was nearing the finish line.

But this bar mitzvah year Jerusalem Winner Marathon was different – some with the same shirts.

Others remember the hostages with photos pinned on the regular race shirts

and empty chairs with more pictures of those held captive in Gaza.

The booths for larger running groups were back in the park.

There were so many runners in the smaller races that it was hard to get to all the booths.

It was good to see that runners returned from overseas to participate again this year as in the past.

The Ari Fuld Project was back again in this booth.

OneFamily again had hundreds of runners in their red shirts, including international participants.

New this year were 300 red shirts for Team Hersh, “Bring_Hersh_Home” – 5 months being held in Gaza.

With the very early starting times, putting on tefillin while getting the best photos can be a challenge.

However, 40,000 runners and their supporters got up early and filled Gan Sacher on Friday morning.

More visible security than in the past years, and security was a constant presence.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion ran in a shorter race and was all smiles ready to greet the full marathon winner at the finish line in Gan Sacher.

Ready and waiting, arms up and with the first-place medal in his hand.

For the full marathon winner’s finish, a crowd was waiting and watching on all sides.

Cameras and phones were ready for Melkamu Jember to break the tape.

By checking the number on his shirt, I could tell he was not the lead runner in my earlier video.

There was not as much attention paid to the full marathon third-place finisher

or the first-place women’s full marathon winner.

Her family was there for a hug.

But the Jerusalem marathon has two finish lines, one in the park and another on the street next to it.

Here is where tens of thousands of runners of the other smaller races arrive.

And hundreds of others wait and watch.

Each runner after crossing the finish line gets a medal.

In the Jerusalem Winner Marathon this year, there were few costumes and many flags.

The supporters of the full marathon were able to cross with their runners.

There was the “Run for their Lives” runner who had stopped for a photo near the beginning.

Kol Hakavod to all the full marathon runners. This year there was short notice with the late decision to hold the races, and the lack of enough training time kept some marathoners away.

However, the Jerusalem “marathon” is more about the shorter 5K, 10K, and Family Races along with the good causes that are supported by the runners raising funds to help others.

This was a blue and white flag year,

A year where getting to the finish line was an accomplishment.

For some easier than for others to reach their full marathon goal.

Walking home – there he was with the pineapple on his head. Missed him last year, but got him twice this time, even though I missed the one person I was waiting to see.

You did not have to be running a full marathon on Friday to be tired.

Or to be an early finisher to be happy and proud,

or even to be running the full marathon to pose.

Supporters cheered on the marathoners still on the road after 5 hours.

Approaching the finish line after 40 kilometers on the hilly Jerusalem streets is no easy feat.

Am Yisrael Chai – #RunwithIsrael – the 13th International Jerusalem Winner Marathon was a winner.

It was also a day to pay tribute to the fallen, murdered, and captives.

On Day 154, with 134 hostages still captive in Gaza, to draw attention to the plight of the families suffering, with their loved ones held for so long with no word of their condition.

It was a good day for tens of thousands of people on the Jerusalem streets.