Jerusalem Prepares for Season of Celebrations – the Yoms

Jerusalem Prepares for Season of Celebrations – the Yoms

The Passover and Easter celebrations are now over.

However, the spring holiday season in Jerusalem, Israel,

is far from over.

As soon as those Passover dishes are put away,

it is time for the roller coaster of emotional  ‘Yoms’:

Yom HaShoah,

Holocaust Remembrance Day,

Yom HaZikaron,

the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror,

which is immediately followed by

Yom HaAtzmaut,

Israel’s Independence Day,

and this year is a big 50 for

Yom Yerushalayim,

Jerusalem Day.

As soon as the celebration of freedom ends

Lord and Lady Gainsford in Jerusalem

international guests gather at Yad Vashem,

for the official opening ceremony for Yom HaShoah,

to remember the 6,000,000 Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Each year 6 survivors are honored with the lighting of a memorial flame.

Six survivors who light flames on Yom HaShoa

Here the honorees posed for a photo before the televised ceremony,

each with their own incredible story.

Ready for ceremony in Jerusalem Holocaust Remembrance Day

The lights on the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Plaza

serve as a hauntingly beautiful background at sunset.

Taps and flag lowered at Yom HaShoah at Yad Vashem Jerusalem Israel

Taps is sounded by a lone IDF trumpeter,

and the honor guard and all assembled stand as the Israeli flag is lowered.

Flames and survivors on Yom Hashoah Jerusalem

Six survivors lit flames, aided by either a child or grandchild,

with some of the young relatives currently serving in the IDF.

The next day, there is another ceremony, less well-known,

Knesset greeting in flowers outside on lawn

which is held in the Knesset.

Flowers at Knesset Jerusalem Israel

The Knesset entrance plaza has new landscaping,

Israeli flags flying at half mast for Yom Hashao Jerusalem

where the flags fly all day at half-mast.

Israeli Knesset pin with Israeli flag

Israeli flags were featured on the Knesset pins given out to guests.

Again, six survivors lit memorial flames.

100 year old man lighting torch for Holocaust Remembrance Day

This survivor is 100 years old.

The President and Prime Minister attended and spoke,

and the Chief Rabbis added traditional Jewish memorial prayers.

In this televised ceremony as well,

a short video of the survivors’ harrowing stories was shown.

Speaker of Knesset Yuli Edlestein at Remembrance Day ceremony

At the ceremony, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein,

led the reading of a list of names of those who did not survive.

The Prime Minister, President, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,

and members of Knesset, all added names of family members

to the list of those who were murdered,

“To every person there was a name.”

However,

from the retelling of darkness in the Chagall Hall of the Knesset,

Rose Garden Jerusalem

one exits to the sight of the blooming roses in the Rose Garden.

Along with with flowers in bloom,

the Yoms are a time of blue & white Israeli flags,

huge ones down sides of buildings,

tiny ones blowing from car windows,

Flags and flowers in Jerusalem

big ones on schools,

Jerusalem cafe Israeli flag on tables

and small ones on a cafe table.

Signs for Yom Haatzmaut in Jerusalem Israel

Signs are up for celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut,

Israel’s 69 years of Independence,

Hebrew sign for Ceremony for Remembrance Day

but first there will be Yom HaZikaron,

a time to remember those who gave their lives

Memorial flame on Menachem Begin Memorial Center Jerusalem

with annual memorial flames displayed on buildings.

Jerusalem and Israeli flags are flying above the Jerusalem streets,

Jerusalem 50 years mew white flags

along with this new white flag,

which marks 50 years of the liberation of Jerusalem,

Hotels are booked out

and flights are hard to come by,

as tens of thousands plan to join in the celebrations of

Yom Yerushalayim, 

filling the Jerusalem streets with more flags

and joyous days  of celebrations.

New Color in Jerusalem

Passover preparations and Israeli children

  being out of school on vacation all week,

plus the arrival of holiday visitors,

are keeping people very busy.

The 120 members of the 20th Israeli Knesset

were sworn in yesterday,

and then they all went on a month long recess.

There were two special ribbon cutting events

that I want to make sure you know about.

Sunday was the special launch of an

 environmental program called the “Green Knesset.”

The dairy cafeteria inside the Knesset building has

image Knesset inside

 large windows to let sun in to heat the room and floor,

and special shading to keep heat from sun out in summer.

But now the “Green Knesset” has added

image bins to recycle bottles

special bins for recycling,

and at meetings water will no longer be served in bottles,

 saving 60,000 plastic bottles per year.

Water, paper and electricity are to be conserved.

No more large mountains of paper for the budget,

as each member will get a disk on key instead.

Those responsible for the first stage of the

 sustainability project gathered together on the Knesset roof.

image Yuli Edelstiein and other dignitaries at Kneset

 Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein, smiling on the left side,

was the featured speaker

Israel Knesset building

and was honored to cut the ribbon on the roof

roof of Israel Knesset solar panel field

in the middle of the 1,406 solar panel field.

The next day a very different green project was opened,

the Jerusalem, Israel, nature reserve – the Gazelle Park.

opening Gazelle Valley nature park

The area where gazelles had roamed free,

did not go to real estate developers,

Jerusalem, Israel new park large water area

but back to nature and the people.

On opening day, thousands of all ages attended,

walking trail in Deer Valley Park

 walking nature trails,

Jerusalem Israel park

and listening to stories near the restored Orchard site.

sign in Valley of Gazelle water system

The water system is designed to sustain the plant and animal life.

Green spot in Jerusalem, Israel

In Israel, the end of winter means green grass,

dotted with colored wild flowers.

gazelle puppet on opening day of Gazelle Park

This was the only gazelle I saw on opening day,

but real ones are to have an area in which to roam free once again.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat smiling with children taking photos

Mayor Nir Barkat was smiling and posing for photos,

Nechama Rivlin cuts ribbon at Gazelle Park

and the ribbon was cut by First Lady Nechama Rivlin.

large nature park in Jerusalem, Israel

This Passover one does not have to drive or sit in car for hours to visit a park,

as the nature reserve is large, free to the public,

and open from 7:00 am to dark, 7 days a week.

Gazelle Valley 302b

Happy Spring Holiday.

פסח שמח

Happy Passover!

Israel’s President Shimon Peres

The day was sunny, clear and warm in Jerusalem, Israel.

image Knessest, sign in flowers

The flowers offered a colorful  ‘Welcome to the Knesset.”

The streets outside were unusually quiet.

But inside was a different story.

DSC_7212b Knessest building during voting for president

 With Israeli flags flying, there were three puffs of white clouds

over the Israeli Knesset building and

Reuven Rivlin was elected  Israel’s 10th president.

image Peres,

RJS was with outgoing President Shimon Peres

before his trip to Rome to see the Pope.

Pau Gasol and Shimon Peres meet.

Peres hosted basketball player Pau Gasol at Beit Hanasi,

the official Israeli President’s residence.

image Pau Gasol, photo Shimon Peres

The seven-foot tall Gasol plays for the LA Lakers,

but also was on the Spanish Olympic team

and presented Peres with this team shirt.

image Pau Gasol, photo Shimon Peres

Gasol signed the shirt as requested.

Though looking serious in this photo,

Shimon Peres made a few age and height jokes.

Then posed for an official photo

image Pau Gasol, photo Shimon Peres

with a mixed Arab-Jewish teen basketball team.

One thing for sure,

Peres’ staff had schedules which ran like clockwork.

Diplomats were leaving as the basketball players arrived,

and when we left another event was being set up.

image Peres

 RJS first close-up photo of Shimon Peres was on October 2009,

greeting the public at a Sukkah open house.

Shimon Peres and Jams Snyder at Israel Museum

Peres was in great form at the Israel Museum 50th celebration.

Receiving a photo of himself from the groundbreaking

50 years early had to be special moment.

At a conference in Jerusalem after leaving office,

Peres was talking about the human brain and its function,

and used the word “orgasm” instead of “organism.”

Any other politician would have made headlines,

only Peres could get away with such a slip-up.

image new bust of Shimon Peres in Presidential gardens

Shimon Peres is in the garden of Beit Hanasi, 

the Israeli presidential official residence,

the last in row of nine former Presidents of Israel.

No age jokes now.

Updated: September 27, 2016

after family called to hospital.