The pomegranate season is here.
This was another autumn week
filled with Jerusalem festivals and events.
Mekudeshet and Manofim,
try and keep all those arts and music programs straight.
At night the temperatures go down
and the people come out from hiding – after the hot sunny days.
Near the light rail tracks and Zion Square,
and not in New York City,
signs beckons for end-of-season sales.
As part of a cultural festival
trees were brought in and placed around Zion Square.
I am not sure I like the new look,
but loved seeing so many people out on the streets.
I was on my way to the Italian Festival.
The beautiful sanctuary of the Italian Synagogue,
off Ben Yehuda Street,
was open to the public.
The wooden benches may be authentic,
but they are not the most comfortable for long prayer services.
This was the annual festival
where pizza was available in the plaza
and old Vespas were on exhibit inside.
Italians were not the only ones featured this week.
Chinese flags were flying over the Knesset
as government officials were in Jerusalem,
joining hundreds of Chinese tourists.
When it comes to tourists,
John Hagee is back, leading over 300 people,
his banner sat in the quiet lobby as they toured the Old City.
The celebration of 50th year of Jerusalem’s reunification
brought together the builders and funders of Jerusalem,
the families who support the Jerusalem Foundation,
Their major projects are too many too mention now.
This large sign and Israeli flags greeted them at Beit Hanasi,
the Israeli President’s official residence.
Celebrations will happen throughout the year,
as Hebrew year 5777 begins next week.
Also at Beit Hanasi this week.
an emotional event was held honoring IDF soldiers
who were bone marrow donors
by grateful recipients and their families.
For the past 10 years,
IDF soldiers have undergone voluntary screening,
and their bone marrow donations have saved 1,100 lives.
From this small sign about a craft festival
on Derech Bet Lechem,
to this over-sized sign announcing that Matisyahu
is coming back for a Sultan Pool concert in October,
new signs have been posted all around Jerusalem.
Not all are in Hebrew-
sometimes the ones in English get the most attention.
Would you pay 200 shekels for destroyed jeans?
Hundreds of signs were posted for the
5000 runners who filled the Jerusalem streets
on Monday night for Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run.
Another on sports,
signs are posted for the annual basketball shooting derby
event at Kikar Safra, Government Square.
But until the balls start flying through the air,
these safety signs were getting more attention.
Not into sport?
A Picasso exhibit is on at the Israel Museum,
and the rooms filled with hundreds of the artist’s works.
Outside. Inside. Large. Small.
Still not enough?
Our local Pillbox is to be a star
at the Houses Within annual event.
This modest sign posted on nearby trees
offers just one of dozens of options over 3 days.
It’s a great opportunity to see private homes and other buildings,
otherwise closed to the public.
just a few signs of what is happening
in Jerusalem this week.
Now you have seen these signs,
please let me know what you would like
to see more of next time and in future.
In Kikar Tzion, Zion Square,
just off Jaffa Road,
at a stall in the Jerusalem Night Market,
I saw these dried pomegranates on a wooden tray.
Pomegranates are usually for Rosh Hashannah,
but since Jerusalem is gearing up for the holidays,
this seemed fine for a Shabbat Shalom greeting.
Thought this looked better without words Shabbat Shalom
placed on it, do you agree?
The news making international headlines is that
Shimon Peres, שמעון בן שרה,
is in the hospital in serious condition on a respirator.
One of my favorite photos of former President Peres
was taken at the Israel Museum 50th Birthday Bash
Who else would be presented with their own photo
taken at opening of the museum fifty years earlier?
Free entrance to the Israel Museum
is being offered this Thursday night.
I wish I could take advantage of the offer, but there are just too many
things happening in Jerusalem, Israel…again!
All the summer concerts in Jerusalem parks
and the Hansen House special children events have ended,
as it’s time to go back to school.
My favorite posters are up,
like this one of the Jerusalem municipality welcoming boys
and girls with “Hello First Graders.”
Where else is the start of school treated
as bigger deal than college graduation?
Signs are also up for Mekudeshet, a culture festival
with weeks of extensive music and arts programs.
Plus, the annual Italian Festival is also going on this week.
Signs are up as the city prepares to celebrate
50 years since the end of the Jordanian occupation
and the reunification of Jerusalem.
A new wall has been erected at Beit Hanasi,
the Israeli Presidential official residence.
However, it is a temporary barrier
as construction work for a new visitor entrance has begun.
While work proceeded behind the wall,
Beit Hanasi was busy with international visitors.
World Jewish Congress delegates came on Monday,
and posed for group photo with President Rivlin.
posted in Israel were hosted by the Rivlins.
This is one of the group’s photos,
from 80 countries, 33 nations were represented that day.
Some of those visitors had been to Jerusalem many times,
but for others it was their first visit.
How good it is when people come and see the great things
that are happening on the Jerusalem streets for themselves.
Hope to get to some of Jerusalem’s newly-opened parks,
as the countdown to Rosh Hashannah reminds us,
the new year is coming soon.
15 years have past
since September 11, 2001,
but I can still remember the bluest, clearest sky,
and best weather on that day in Washington, DC.
We had moved back from New York City a few days earlier.
Having a blue sky in Jerusalem, Israel, is a given all summer,
no one moves to DC for the weather.
There was a good reason that foreign diplomats stationed in DC
received hazard pay in the days before air conditioning.
But it was so nice that morning,
I went for a walk as work was being done on our new kitchen.
The destruction of the twin towers of the WTC
and with its immense loss of life
has overshadowed the loss of life at
the Pentagon, the heart of the US military command.
For those of us living in the DC area,
the attack on the Pentagon affected our family and friends
in too many ways to recount here now.
The 15th anniversary of 9/11 was remembered in Israel.
Buses took passengers from Jerusalem on a round-about route,
under the new fast-train tracks under construction
towards the JNF-KKY Jerusalem Park,
slowly and cautiously down the winding road.
After an hour on the bus
we were on the other side of the tracks
and across from the cemetery on Har Hamenuchot.
Dignitaries and guests waited in the memorial plaza for the program to begin.
The names of all 2,996 victims are listed on the wall.
The only memorial outside of US to list all the names.
The honor guard in full dress
was positioned cleverly in front of the cool air blowers
and were protected by the sun shade.
What were the Marines thinking?
Israeli families of victims placed a floral memorial wreath
as did Israeli and international dignitaries.
US Ambassador Dan Shapiro stood in respect
after placing his wreath at the base of the memorial
fashioned in the design of a US flag shaped as a flame.
A piece from the Twin Towers is encased in the base,
and can be seen through the rectangular window above those wreaths.
After the official ceremony,
with all its impressive speeches this year,
flowers were provided to those who wished to place them
on the names in memory of those who lost their lives on 9 /11.
A delegation of 50 US police officers were in attendance.
Their hats and uniforms were imprinted with US and Israeli flags.
There was a positive feeling of unity
that is not felt often enough these days.
As WJC President Ronald Lauder said,
“The pain of loss never goes away,
but happiness comes from freedom,
and free people rise over hate.
More photos from ceremony
It does not happen often,
but we got away from Jerusalem, Israel,
for a few days and we drove up north.
Nothing is far in Israel,
and in two hours you can be at the Kinneret,
the Sea of Galilee.
It looks so cool and calm,
but on the other side,
Syria is on the other side of the Golan Heights.
It used to be on the other side of the lake.
The Galil seems filled with prosperous
Arab villages along the main roads.
Check out this sign in Arabic
for the Israeli (Chinese) dairy company Tnuva.
A special ceremony honoring fallen Bedouin soldiers and security officers
was held this week at the official memorial park
established in honor of Bedouin IDF soldiers, police and scouts.
It is beautifully landscaped with large symbolic stones.
In this photo, three stones represent those hung as spies by Syria.
Despite the community pride in the fallen security forces,
no names were permitted to be photographed and published.
All those names are listed this in memorial wall shaped like a tent,
but I was told not to share the names.
Not far away,
rising above the valley is Mount Tabor,
with its narrow winding road leading up to the top.
Buses have to park at the bottom,
as only smaller vehicles can make the multiple crazy turns.
It is truly is a wonder how the Terra Santa friars
built the original structure so many centuries ago.
But what a view from there now!
Jerusalem is not the only place of contrast,
old and new, for much of Israel today is amazing,
and constantly changing.
Ok, it was fun to see one of those
old fashioned baby transporters,
new and in use in the restaurant parking lot.
Established under difficult conditions,
in 1901, Kfar Tavor,
has a museum with old milk cans,
while a few kilometers away, huge tank trucks come and go
from the state of art Tnuva factory.
The highways are not like the old days,
Highway 6 with its large trucks reminded us
of the New Jersey Turnpike traffic.
While driving it was possible to check
the phone for email and updates and more,
but the Kfar Tavor Museum has the one phone,
for all of the Palestina (Eretz Yisrael) area in 1926.
Wine is still processed the old fashioned way
in wooden, hand-crafted barrels.
Looks like this is as close as I am getting to
the Jerusalem Wine Festival this year.
Last night I attended a special event,
in the Kfar Shmaryhu residence
of the US counselor for Press and Culture.
3 teams of Ethiopian Israelis presented
entrepreneurial projects done with mentors
in a new Tech-Career incubator program.
no Ethiopian Israelis were trained in hi-tech in Israel,
now there are hundreds.
A few highlights of week, old and new and change,
the sunsets were picture-perfect every night,
but it is good to be back home in Jerusalem.