18 Colors and Sounds: Summer in Jerusalem

Not the usual week on the Jerusalem, Israel, streets.

The period before Tisha B’Av is known as the Nine Days.

Each year RJS is here to share something new along with the old.

In Jerusalem, it is a time for a colorful sky in the evening as the sun sets.

Building construction is often halted during the Nine Days.

Street construction continued, and Ramban Street was closed for repaving.

Finally, the long-delayed Knesset Museum is showing some progress.

If taking out windows and putting up new signs are signs of progress.

photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

President Isaac Herzog held a diplomatic work meeting with President Ratu Wiliame M. Katonivere of the Republic of Fiji this week.

Wonder if the official motorcade noticed the colors of the Jerusalem streets?

The brilliant reds in the hot midday sun,

or the bright whites in the evening hours.

The flowers were blooming off of Ben Yehudah Street.

But I went out from my airconditioned space to see the new street installations off Ben Yehudah in town.

There were birds,

balloons,

and colorful clothing over the streets.

Some refrain from shopping for clothing during the Nine Days,

but tourists are here and the shops had signs to welcome the teen tourists.

The water was off from this installation but it has been painted in new pastel colors.

And then there were these big balloons over the street to entice youngsters.

The colorful lion at Kikar Safra stands across from the I Love JLM display.

Not all is as it appears at Safra Square, these colorful pillows are cement.

A reminder that not all coloring is considered a good idea.

The colorful crowds were back at Jaffa Gate of the Old City.

With a large family outing, matching colored tee shirts are a good idea.

And ice cream is a good idea any time in Jerusalem in the summer.

As Tisha B’Av ends, the end of summer festivals begin,

International Klezemer is 8-14, and Jerusalem Puppets at Train Theater,

the long-running Arts Festival with musical performances each night,

and the Dinosaurs at the Botanical Gardens.

The ads are up again for a variety of events,

including a Festival with books and music, and food in the neighborhoods.

The Summer marathon in Jerusalem is splashed at a Jerusalem bus stop.

The pomegranates are reminding us of summer’s end approaching.

But it is still hot enough during the day for Jerusalem cats to do nothing.

In Jerusalem, as the Nine Days and Tisha B’Av come to an end the crowds assemble at the Kotel, Western Wall. At night the scene can be a surprise. Thousands of people sing slow sad songs, while others appear to be at a massive party.

All prayers conclude with the blessing of peace in Jerusalem.

A Day in Jerusalem: What you did not see

When sand fills the air it’s a good time to shut the windows and stay off the Jerusalem streets. It’s not a pretty picture as the dirt blows in and covers everything on any day, especially on Shabbat.

However, earlier in the week, it was a very different story.

Monday morning, the sky was blue, the roses bright red, and the menorah across from the Knesset was surrounded by lush green foliage.

Even though I was in a hurry, I took the time to stop, appreciate the scene and take a quick photograph.

A Knesset security guard came over to question what I was doing. However, I was able to point and say how pretty, and he did not stop me.

The red carpet was out. Not for me, but for the President of the Austrian National Council. I could see the drums and tuba ready for an official musical band welcome, but I was on my way to a meeting inside.

First time back inside the Knesset in over two years, and getting permission to use my camera was an exciting way to start the day. The Knesset Israel Victory Caucus met to discuss the security situation of the past year.

Photo credit: Michael Katz

Thanks to photographer Mike Katz for sharing his photo with me of the new style tee-shirt, which I missed when I stepped out for a few minutes.

Incitement to terror has increased, what to do to stop it is the question?

The official car of Austrian National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka was parked as I was leaving the meeting which went longer than expected.

I say moving to Jerusalem has been an education in international flags.

I passed a tour group at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory. The natural roof was not green this time as in a 2019 post.

Next to the Bird Observatory, the cemetery, across from the Israeli Supreme Court building has become a popular attraction with busloads of men and women coming to pray at the grave of the Zvhiller Rebbe.

However, at least one man was able to find a quiet moment to reflect.

I was rushing over to the new Nefesh BeNefesh Campus for the first annual Mental Health Expo, special for English speakers. Attended by 1600 people who took advantage to speak with dozens of participating organizations.

The lecture room was filled for Dr. David Pelcovitz’s talk. I had to push my way into the standing-room-only crowd which spilled into the hallway to take a photo. It was the most crowded room of people I have seen in over two years.

It was a beautiful day to be out and walk in Jerusalem. The new path in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, was lined with new colorful flowers.

The new sign was up for the Kraft Family Sports Campus.

And the Ninja section at the park was filled with religious girls in long skirts excitedly trying out the exercise equipment.

Amazing the Jerusalem of contrasts, the new park area, and the old buildings as they were decades ago in disrepair adjacent to each other.

I passed this dumpster and wondered how long those wooden pallets would remain?

With Lag B’Omer approaching, all the wood along Jerusalem streets was being collected for upcoming nighttime bonfires.

The Jerusalem Book Forum and International Writers’ Festival were back again with local and international writers and publishers attending the opening events at the Jerusalem YMCA.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion was present to award the Jerusalem Prize as he did in the last festival held in 2019 to Joyce Carol Oates.

This year’s winner British author Julian Barnes was not able to attend but appeared in a video.

It was fascinating to hear a speaker from Germany say how he felt safer now walking the Jerusalem streets than the streets in Europe.

One featured writer was Joshua Cohen, author of “The Netanyahus: An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family” which won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

All that was on a day the media focused only on conflict.

Wednesday night, Lag B’Omer fires burned well into the night.

The piles of wood were prepared and piled high by thousands who partied all night long in Jerusalem. Musical performances went on in many locations until the early morning hours.

I tried watching online, but wonder if Meron Lag BOmer celebrations will recover any time soon after last year’s tragedy?

While there is a government crisis (almost daily?) and troubles abound, this week I preferred to walk during the day when the sky was clear and the sun shone and admire the flowers along the Jerusalem streets.

The plans for Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, reunited for 55 years are well underway. From May 26 to June 2, 2022, Jerusalem is celebrating with 9000 flags and 42 km of flag chains hung along the Jerusalem streets.

Yes, there is much more happening in Jerusalem that does not attract headlines. What next? How about a parade for over 60-year-olds?

In the Jerusalem Cinema City where the Mental Health Fair was held, I saw these two women sitting, one Muslim and one Jewish. Not what you saw on your TV sets at night, but what was happening on the real Jerusalem streets.

It was May 16, 2022. Nakba Day in Jerusalem, Israel – what you did not see.

Jerusalem Passover Photo Favorites

The Passover holiday has ended in Jerusalem, Israel, and around the world.

When we awoke on Sunday morning, the Knesset building was shrouded by the dense haze/sand in the air. Not a favorite sight to photograph.

Even with the indoor mask law lifted last night, I would advise wearing one outside today on the Jerusalem streets!

But before we move on to the Yoms, starting with Yom HaShoah on Wednesday night, there were special scenes of this past week I want to share.

The wall of Jerusalem’s Old City near Jaffa Gate was lit up at night with a colorful Pesach Sameach, Happy Passover greeting for the week.

As the holiday was to begin, windows had to be closed to keep out the smoke from the burning of chametz, as the last bread or pasta was taken out of the house and burned in countless fires around Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem streets were quieter than usual, with less construction going on over the holiday period.

The excited sounds of tourists returning were pleasant to hear instead.

The Kotel, Western Wall, was the main attraction for most visitors.

There was a tour group at the egalitarian section when I was there.

The main Birchat Kohanim, Priestly Blessing, was held twice to accommodate more people with less crowding, the same as last year.

The damage caused to Al Aqsa Mosque by rioting thugs was evident in the broken windows you can see above. On another night of rioting, their firebombs caused an old olive tree on the Temple Mount to catch fire. Meanwhile, after Israeli security cleared the area, hundreds of thousands of Muslims were able to pray there peacefully for Ramadan.

Security was on higher alert and patrolling strategic locations.

This woman became a favorite when she bent down to explain to her young daughter not to be scared since the security was there to protect her.

The magnificent horses of the security patrols are always a favorite, even better when all they have to do is sit and watch the crowd.

Holiday music along the Jerusalem streets is also a favorite sight and sound.

You know the visitors are back when the port-a-johns are on the move.

Is a Greek flag on your mask a good sign of security for this Greek official out and about with his son?

Good to see these usually closed doors along the Armenian Road wide open.

Jerusalem streets require a protest sign, and this one is against the internet.

Some of the days of Passover were hot, others cold, but on one hot day the Iriyia, Jerusalem Municipality, gave out bottles of water that were much appreciated.

Multiple places in the old city sold bottled water, but along s main walking route to the Kotel, one family was giving away water to those who stopped and recited the appropriate blessing.

A hot day means if you don’t drink it’s easy to dehydrate. Also, it is a danger to slip on the stone Jerusalem streets that can be as slippery as ice. Emergency response teams were ready to provide aid and transport those in need to hospitals.

Food. So many restaurants were open for Passover observant visitors.

Jerusalem streets were cleaned up over the Passover holiday, with more than the usual runs to keep up with all the extra waste.

The art was back in Mamilla Mall. This piece was designed to encourage people to watch their speech and avoid Lashon Hara, talking badly of others.

There were tours and special programs for families at the museum and tourist sites as usual, but not many tourists found this Jerusalem art fair.

Tucked away behind the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, on the entrance street, only one lone cat was near the feeding station the day I went to check it out.

On Wednesday of Passover, in the evening there was a controversial Flag March. I went to check it out for myself and decided to share this short video to show the real Jerusalem streets.

As usual, thousands are peaceful, and only the few trouble makers make the news photos and headlines.

The Temple Mount is closed to Jews until after Ramadan, which ends with Eid al-Fitr on May 3 and 4, 2022. The Druze are celebrating Nabi Shu’eib in memory of the Prophet Jethro. And today is Orthodox Easter Sunday, with a major ceremony “Holy Fire” held yesterday in the Old City.

Until the dirt clears from the air, I am content to stay inside and pack up the Passover dishes once again.

As every year, we concluded the Pesach seder with “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

Hoping to see you next year in Jerusalem!