From Jerusalem Shabbat Shalom HaGadol

From Jerusalem Shabbat Shalom HaGadol

The Jerusalem streets are quieter than usual during this a major holiday season.

The Shabbat before Pesach, Passover, is called Shabbat HaGadol. 

In the past years, announcements for major Shabbat HaGadol talks by famous rabbis would be plastered around the Jerusalem streets.

However, this year is not like any other, and many of those lectures have moved online.

matza baking before Pesach

There will be no public matzah baking in Kikar Safra,

Pesach crowd in Kotel plaza after Birkat Kohanim on Pesach

no huge crowds at the Kotel, Western Wall,

Kotel for Birkat Chohanim

for the Birkat Kohanim, Priestly Blessing,

Gan Sacher picnickers on Pesach in Jerusalem park

no family reunions in parks,

and no big family seder meals.

Street sign Happy spring holiday

This year is a time to remember years past,

I heart Jerusalem sign

and look forward to the future.

Shabbat shalom with flowers

שבת שלום

Shabbat Shalom

Pesach sign Happy Passover

Next Year in Jerusalem!

Jerusalem Living with COVID-19

Jerusalem Living with COVID-19

In Jerusalem, Israel, during this time of isolation from COVID-19, as the novel coronavirus spreads around the world, it is not business as usual.

Jerusalem Israel view with chair outside COVID-19

Now that the sun has finally come out and the rain stopped I have moved my office outside.

Cafes are shut. Malls are basically shut. Food shopping is allowed.

The Machane Yehuda Market shuk with its open markets is closed.

However, as the coronavirus continues to spread and despite the difficulties, Israeli farmers produced 90 million pounds of fruits and vegetables, last week.

Avshalom Vilan, Secretary-General of The Israel Farmer’s Federation, spoke to journalists on a conference phone call about the successes and challenges of work amidst the pandemic, plans for the coming months and  cooperation with Palestinian farmers.

Vilan assured food for Passover will not be a problem. The 50 million eggs for Passover already arrived from Portugal!

Yoel Zilberman is the Founder and CEO of HaShomer HaChadashan and Chairman of SunDo, a start-up that connects farmers with volunteers.

For those wanting to do something in this time of increasing shutdown, SunDo is an App to volunteer to work in agriculture.

The museums are closed. However, the Israel Museum has had virtual tours available with a phone app for several years. Now those guided tours are being offered to people on the other side of the world, not just those wandering the vast galleries. The Tower of David Museum was to show off its latest virtual reality offering yesterday. Now it will really be just virtual for some time.

It is a time when apps and online classes and webinars can keep us busy 24/7.  ZOOM, and Facebook Live, and Netflix offerings seem endless.

I have not left the house, but keep up to date through Whatsapp groups, from MDA and United Hatzalah.

MDA has opened four drive-thru coronavirus test centers, with the first test site in Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem Israel Corona test center drive thru in Arena Parking lot
MDA image

All sports events have been canceled. Near Teddy Stadium, on Monday night, March 22, the parking lot of Jerusalem’s Pais Arena a drive-thru COVID-19 test center for the Jerusalem area was opened. Hundreds of families may be in for a pleasant surprise to receive at Magen David Adom’s and Health Ministry’s “Drive and Test” compounds – a gift set, donated by Intel, in order to ease the isolation period.

These are family quality time game sets, to raise morale and relieve boredom. The gifts set produced by “Tsumi – The Israeli Center for Attention,” and donated by Intel; include variety of table – box games.

Jerusalem during coronavirus working at home outside on porch

My neighbor took advantage of the improved weather to work outside.   I decided not to share the image of other neighbors exercising on the roof.

Jerusalem street during Corona

Cars are out. Jerusalem is not yet on shutdown. Jerusalem has a large part of its economy based on tourism. With no tourists, the businesses that work with them and hotels suffer which exasperates the problem of families on poverty levels in serious ways. Deputy Mayor Fleur Nassan-Hahoum said retraining unemployed workers for positions in demand, like work in a mask factory in Talpiot is a priority.

Jerusalem Passover signs for street pickup of large items

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Municipality posted signs to clean up for picking up large items before Passover. I admit the sounds of the sanitation workers are comforting.

Israel Knesset view with Crown Plaza in background

What’s happening (or not happening) in the Knesset is a whole other story, not for now.

I have a list of topics I had wanted to share, but there was no time. I hope to keep these posts coming of what is really happening on and off the Jerusalem streets during COVID-19 isolation time.

In the ‘you can learn something new everyday’ department, from friends I learned of Beer Bread.

Picture of Corona Bread

So I made Corona Bread.

Mix – 3 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar and one bottle of warm Corona Beer.

Bake in a moderate oven, 350 F – 175 C degrees for almost an hour.

Best warm from the oven, but not so bad the next day either.

Something pre-Passover to do, easy, tasty and makes the houses smell good.

Smell is a powerful trigger for memory – may your memories of these crazy days be good ones.

1000 Real Jerusalem Streets

1000 Real Jerusalem Streets

Rain.

Rain and more rain in Jerusalem, Israel.

Trying to decide what to share this week,

I revert to the weekly Torah portion of Mishpatim, Laws.

לֹ֥א תִשָּׂ֖א שֵׁ֣מַע שָׁ֑וְא אַל־תָּ֤שֶׁת יָֽדְךָ֙ עִם־רָשָׁ֔ע לִהְיֹ֖ת עֵ֥ד חָמָֽס׃

Not to share the false things you hear. 

Thus no fake news, but on The Real Jerusalem Streets – not all is good.

Cherry tree in bloom in Jerusalem Israel

The rain was good for the cherry trees in bloom.

Jerusalem Israel street repaved

Continuing construction on Jerusalem streets not so good for residents.

I will spare you the images of stopped traffic and ripped up concrete.

Spelling mistakes in English on Hebrew signs in Jerusalem Israel

However, this sign posted on the Jerusalem corner is a new favorite.

This is post number 1000 from the Real Jerusalem Streets.

This is a milestone post –

a time to remember for International Women’s Day and Israel Apartheid Week:

Israeli Apartheid?

Nine years ago it took off and went viral, best RJS days of views ever.

Shame I was such a newbie, in Eilat, and did not follow up.

The next year, in 2012, also for International Women’s Day,

15 Real Photos of Arab Girls was published.

Those girls keep on going with over 25,000 views in the last 3 years.

Sign for Jerusalem Washington Street.

Another year, and the US Presidents Day and Conference of Presidents Leadership Mission have come and gone, but Washington Street in Jerusalem remains and its sign is lit up at night, a popular image to share.

Presidents was an early post and needed heavy editing to share.

The Jewish Agency Board of Governors is meeting only in Tel Aviv this year.

No jokes about rocket science or scientists.

Mars exploration scientist in Jerusalem

NASA’s Mars exploration scientist Nagin Cox was in Jerusalem at the American Cultural Center and concluded with the news that the countdown to the next launch is underway.

Mars exploration robot images

These NASA images of Mars look like they were taken in the Negev outside of Eilat.

Jerusalem King George Street hotel construction

While back in Jerusalem, new hotels under construction are changing the skyline.

Muslim women shopping in Jerusalem Mamilla Mall

The shops in Mamilla Mall have changed over the years, but the Arab women and girls are a regular sight, shopping and eating in the cafes.

So much has changed over the years on the Jerusalem streets.

So much has remained the same.