The End of August in Jerusalem

Another week flew by in Jerusalem, Israel.

Shabbat morning I was not the only one taking a walk on the Jerusalem streets before the heat of the day.

Without his usual entourage, I almost didn’t recognize Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion with two security guards dressed in short sleeve shirts. It looked like the CEO of the Jerusalem Development Authority was the fourth person walking along looking at Azza Street.

Clouds of smoke covered the sun in the Jerusalem sky last week as the Jerusalem Forest burned out of control for two days. Homes and businesses were destroyed. People raced to put possessions into their cars and escape the flames. Hospital patients had to be evacuated until fire units could control the burning forest under windy conditions. Everyone was relieved when the winds and flames ended.

As usual, along with the bad, many new, good things were happening too.

Docu.text, the annual documentary film festival, was held by the National Library this past week.

The new Israel National Library complex under construction is an impressive sight at night. Looking forward to when it will finally open.

The new Train Theater is to host the annual International Puppet Festival.

The name now makes sense, as this is the original Train Theater being restored on the new campus, located at the end of the Liberty Bell Park.

It is located next to the expanded parking lot across from First Station. But be warned; I have seen cars circling around and around looking for a spot.

The Jerusalem Theater is preparing to celebrate its 50th year.

The opening night of the 38th Jerusalem Film Festival, JFF is set for August 24th, again at the Sultan’s Pool near the Cinematheque. However, this year there is a new addition, Film Truck, which will have showings in various Jerusalem neighborhoods – for free.

Quentin Tarantino received a special award from Mayor Nir Barkat five years ago and is to be back again this year in Jerusalem for the JFF opening.

Dr Ruth and President Reuven Rivlin

At the last big JFF opening night, BC, Before Corona, Dr. Ruth was a special guest, along with then-President Reuven Rivlin.

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Speaking of the former president, he was back at Beit Hanasi with new President Herzog and Prime Minister Bennett to welcome back the Israeli Tokyo 202 Olympic athletes.

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Cameras were readied in the main diplomatic hall of the Israeli President’s Residence.

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There were selfies galore with the two gold medal winners.

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Smiles, hugs, and kisses, as the athletes, coaches, and supporters celebrated Israel’s success at Tokyo 2020 games.

And of course, there were speeches also.

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Coming outside for official photos, President Herzog stayed for more and more poses with the medalists.

For even more of those smiles, check on Facebook HERE

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PM Bennett left followed by his security detail.

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Back at Balfour Street, the ugly added layers of security have been removed. Protesters are now in Ra’anana, where the Prime Minister lives, rather than near the official residence in Jerusalem.

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Families are getting in their last days on the Jerusalem streets near the end of August, and hopefully before the start of a new and better school year,

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Ben Yehudah is one of many locations with people listening to music and finding places to eat on the cooler summer evenings.

Big concerts at Kikar Safra, Jerusalem City Hall Plaza, are now accompanied

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by long lines of people waiting to get their jabs. Vaccinations are now going to be available in a long list of Jerusalem neighborhoods also.

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Those random Jerusalem street closings still continue to challenge drivers.

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And those building sites go up (after going deep down first) all over the Jerusalem streets!

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Get ready for The Jerusalem Night Run to launch the Maccabiah Games to be held in Jerusalem, set for August 29th.

The Israeli athletes on the Paralympic teams are on their way to the Tokyo Games. They receive less attention than the main Olympic events but have a tradition of more medalists.

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And as August comes to an end and we approach the New Year, a shemittah year. Planting on new traffic circles has been sped up.

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The new outside locations need to be planted before the restriction of planting begins with another shemittah cycle.

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Gardeners are busy now, but they won’t be as busy next year.

A favorite sight this time of year on the Jerusalem streets–pomegranates are ripening on the trees. And those in the know cover the ripe fruit to protect it from the birds.

So there you have it, some of the good things happening in Jerusalem to balance the bad ones that make headlines.

Take care and stay well, the new year will be here soon.

Jerusalem Streets Summer Scenes

Summer is here in Jerusalem, Israel.

Love it when the weather person announces “hotter than usual.” It’s that time when it is good to stay off the Jerusalem streets during the day.

Some scenes are still consistently good like at Jaffa Gate.

Zahal Square is pretty much the same when the Light Rail trains are not going around the corner.

The new Superbuses are out and running a new route around the Old City. Egged green buses no longer have the monopoly on the Jerusalem streets.

There are bikes to rent at 25 docking stations at key Jerusalem locations –another new means of transportation, not all are blue, some are yellow.

The King David Street renovation goes on, constantly changing, and frustrates drivers, even those who thought they were familiar with the Jerusalem streets.

The residents near Paris Fountain who thought that with the anti-government protesters gone they would have some quiet now found out they were wrong.

The digging in France Square extended into the street, closing lanes and backing up traffic. This is always one of the noisy locations during the summer as visitors try to figure out which lane they should be in and the drivers behind are not patient.

Oh and the Gan HaSoos, Horse Park renovation!

The question this summer – “Is there one Jerusalem street not under construction?”

At least in some locations, you can get a history lesson as you sit in traffic.

New bus lines mean new bus station signs.

And new night bus lines are running late hours. Good – the city is planning ohel, late-night locations for teens to hang out.

Been out of Jerusalem to Gush Etzion lately?

The second tunnel is well underway to change and improve driving to and from Jerusalem on Route #60.

Tourists are here. Jerusalem hotels are back in business.

Some hotels have new names to learn and new owners.

Tourists will find new street installations, adding color over the streets off of Ben Yehuda.

Colorful kites are flying high nearby.

A major project by women of Jerusalem is to decorate all the trees in Zion Square, and it is attracting attention.

Two children were fortunate enough to find time to enjoy the cooling mist at the off Jaffa Road location.

On Ben Yehuda, stores are trying to attract roaming tour groups.

Kikar Safra, Safra Square, was setting up for the annual basketball event.

However, I found the new exhibition on the walls much more interesting.

The Lonka Project includes 360 survivors’ portraits from 35 countries. Each unique brilliantly done image is accompanied by a short biography. 

I was impressed to see a former neighbor and friend’s photo on the wall.

Oh, the stories! In 1942, Helen Brashatsky was born in Auschwitz. A Christian doctor sheltered her and her mother. After the war, they came to Mandatory Palestine, where she married Muhammed Jabarin, converted to Islam, and changed her name to Leila. Only after she registered as a Holocaust survivor did she tell her 8 children and 30 grandchildren.

Sonia Kam and her sister were born in Germany and separated during the war. Never could they have imagined that years later a close relative would be the Israeli ambassador to Germany.

Music from the Liberty Bell Park, the Israel Museum, and the Mekudeshet Festival on the Sherover Plaza on the Tayelet will fill the Jerusalem streets.

Also music at the Jerusalem Theater and Yellow Submarine, and Outline Festival is back again this week in Jerusalem.

The International Arts and Crafts Fair is to return to Mitchell Garden and the Sultan’s Pool with have major musical performers each night.

Going almost 24/7, Shabbat-friendly activities for kids at First Station to Shakespeare in the Park in August, day or night, something is happening on the Jerusalem streets this summer.

And if it gets too hot outside, it’s a good time to stay inside and watch the Israelis perform at the Olympics.

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day Week

Before 1967, Jerusalem was a sleepy old place, divided by a No-man’s Land. The buses arrived from the Tel Aviv area, chugging their way slowly up the winding, twisting Route One.

Jewish tourists were denied access to the Old City from 1948 – June 1967. Jews were not allowed to live in the Old City under Jordanian occupation. One had to go to the roof of Notre Dame to view the forlorn site of the Jewish Temple centuries ago.

Oh, how things have changed!

This year the population of Jerusalem is projected to exceed a million people.

Mayor Moshe Lion spoke at the annual Yekiray Yerushalayim, Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day event held at the Israel Museum on May 6th.

The previous venue for the event has been the Tower of David which is now under renovation and filled with construction equipment to make it accessible. For centuries the Tower of David was used as a military fortress to keep people out, now it is being redone to welcome everyone.

Renovation work also continues in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park.

This area was fenced off after it was sprayed with a questionable chemical.

It’s the time of year I love, when multiple colors line the Jerusalem streets.

A long time favorite, these bird of paradise are near the Knesset.

Pretty image of weeds

Even the weeds looked attractive in the evening light this week.

Other signs of returning to life, as Jerusalem festivals are back. Some are hybrid, consisting of live and recorded presentations, as was The Jerusalem Writers Festival on May 3-5th.

President Reuven Rivlin came to the Jerusalem Cinematheque to kick off
the 4th International Conference on the Freedom of the Press hosted by the Jerusalem Press Club.

The five journalism prize finalists were able to attend the live opening event held in the small theater, but most of the conference was online.

The week after Lag B’Omer was a time for weddings and celebrations. As I walked thru Mamilla Mall all I had to do was to look up to find a wedding.

Ramadan continues for another week, nightly Muslim families come to celebrate in the Old City after day time fasting.

Muslim men arrived at Jaffa Gate, with prayer rugs over their shoulder.

President Rivlin received suggestions for forming a new government at Beit Hanasi, the President’s Residence. Are we on the way to election #5?

Museum of Tolerance

The Museum of Tolerance appears to be nearing completion,

while work on the Netanyahu house continues,

and road work – too many locations to keep track of closings.

This year Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, is to go for a full week.

Jerusalem Day Israeli flags dancing in street

Last year under the corona cloud and lockdown there were no large celebrations for Yom Yerushalayim, the flags and dancing and parades were missing from the Jerusalem streets. This year the event is to return beginning on Monday afternoon, May 10th. In the evening following Jerusalem Day, the traditional Flag Dance will take place in the Old City at the Kotel, Western Wall Plaza, plus multiple other events and locations.

From the May 6 opening honoring accomplishments of long-time Jerusalem residents to the special Shabbat service at the Great Synagogue hosting the Jerusalem Mayor, and until a closing concert at Safra Square on May 13th– the celebrations have returned to Jerusalem.


A festive prayer service is to be held at the Kotel, in honor of 54 years since the liberation of Jerusalem. It will begin, at 7:30 pm, on Sunday, May 9th,  as usual, combined with prayers in memory of those killed and for the recovery of those wounded at the tragedy at Mt. Meron, as well as prayers of thanksgiving for the miracle of Israel’s recovery from the coronavirus. Added will be a mass “hagomel” blessing for the first time during the Jerusalem Day eve prayers to offer gratitude for Israel’s recovery following more than a year of the pandemic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGgZbjYo1wA

Everyone can join using the above link for the live broadcast on the platforms of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the Jerusalem Municipality, and itraveljerusalem.

To conclude, I am sharing Eitan Asraf’s excellent video, with visuals and edits in under 8 minutes, he has captured a wonderful overview of Jerusalem. Jerusalem Day is to be extraordinary. City website HERE

Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!