What Everyone Should Know about Bursting Amygdalus Communis in Jerusalem

What Everyone Should Know about Bursting Amygdalus Communis in Jerusalem

The first thing to know is that amygdalus communis is the scientific name for the almond tree.  With Tu B’Shvat, the song of “almond trees bursting out” (or flowering) can be heard throughout Israel in school classrooms sung by small children wearing floral wreaths on their heads.

Every year when I review and remember past celebrations of Tu B’Shevat, I stress over how to spell ט”ו בשבט in English. I have found 8 options and already used two here.

Every year I want to bring to you something new and interesting.

Dried fruit and nuts fill the stores and markets as every year.

Carob tree near Paris Square in Jerusalem Israel

Carob trees tower over many Jerusalem, Israel streets. This tree is near the Prime Minister’s Residence. I wonder how many of the thousands protesting there noticed it?

For those of us who grew up in the US, Tu B’Shvat meant getting a piece of dark brown, dried out bokser.

Hard to chew and unattractive, why would anyone want to eat it to celebrate the holiday?

Buksor dried on sidewalk on Jerusalem Street

Along Jerusalem streets in time for Tu B’Shvat, there are piles of dried pods fallen from the trees, with new growth peaking its way through.

Knesset opened on Tu Beshvat

The Knesset opening and birthday are held on Tu B’Shvat. In honor of 50 years in its present location, in 2016 a major celebration was held.

Knesset synagogue in 2016 for Tu Bishvat

There was a special afternoon service in the old Knesset Synagogue followed by wine and fruit.

JNF 1928 photo of Girl Guides celebrating Tu Bishvat in jerusalem Beit Hakerem

These Girl Guides were celebrating Tu B’Shvat in Jerusalem in 1928, on an outing in Beit Hakerem.

Since Biblical times almonds, amygdalus communis, have been a sign of spring, a sign of new life and God’s promise.

“When Moses went into the tent of the covenant on the next day, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted. It put forth buds, produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds. -Numbers 17:7

Tu Beshevat almond blossoms Jerusalem Israel

Almond, the first tree to flower before winter’s end, symbolized fast-moving events. “…the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails; because all must go to their eternal home…” -Ecclesiastes 12:5

Anyone interested in the nature and the environment of Israel, with the special emphasis given to the linkage between the plants and Jewish traditions and literature, will appreciate the Hebrew website Wildflowers of Israel.

In addition, their English pages have a wealth of information. Hours of dedicated work have gone into research and photography devoted to the study of wild plants of the Land of Israel, a point of interest for people all over the world since Biblical times. In spite of Israel’s small size it has 2,500 plant species. There are about 100 plants mentioned in the Bible, and about 400 mentioned in the Mishnah and the Talmud.

Thanks to Sara Gold, my contact whenever I need information on a flower or plant. (I know next to nothing about Israeli flora and fauna.) Who knew aloe plants flowered?

In honor of Tu B’Shvat – I searched for the almond – Amygdalus Communis.

rakefet, flowers of spring in Jerusalem Valley of Cross

I searched in the Valley of Cross on the path to the Israel Museum, and there were no almonds bursting forth, but I did find these first flowers in bloom.

Safra Square, Jerusalem municipal government plaza

I went to see what new trees were planted in Kikar Safra, Safra Square.

Old City Jerusalem Israel walls tall palm trees

Thankfully some tall palm trees survived last year’s infestation and are standing tall.

Beit Hanasi flowers in Presidential gardens jerusalem Israel

I searched the gardens at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence, and there were no almonds bursting forth, but these new potted flowers were enjoying the morning sun.

Kumquats ripe at President gardens Jerusalem Israel

In the Beit Hanasi gardens there are 60 olive trees, a line of kumquat trees ripe with fruit, but not one almond tree.

Lemon tree growing in Jerusalem Israel

Our lemon tree is full of ripe fruit too.  In my search this year, I found no almond blossoms in Jerusalem. It is still too early. They really do seem to burst out when they appear.

So it seems as of now, the best place to search and find those bursting Amygdalus Communis is Wildflowers of Israel – HERE.

Tu B’Shvat is to be celebrated beginning the night of January 20, and on January 21.

Jerusalem Martin L King Street sign with trees in background

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, falling the same day this year, here is a new photo of the Jerusalem street sign with trees in distance.

Fog in Jerusalem Israel so thick to obstruct view of Monastery, bird perched outside window.

Snow is in the forecast for Jerusalem. Rain has started to fall. After sunny morning weather, this photo is again appropriate.

Jerusalem weather and politics are hard to predict. Both can change quickly.

Shabbat shalom Tu B'Shvat

But greetings of a happy Tu B’Shvat and Shabbat Shalom, are good to be repeated every year.

3 Suggestions to Enjoy Jerusalem in Stormy Weather

3 Suggestions to Enjoy Jerusalem in Stormy Weather

This time of year, in Jerusalem, Israel, with the beginning of the Hebrew month of Shevat and the approaching “New Year of Trees,” we anticipate new growth and spring.

First flower of spring in Valley of Cross

Walking yesterday toward the Knesset, I spotted the first wild flowers in bloom.

New paths are being prepared through the Valley of the Cross.

There are no blossoms on the almond trees yet, but new olive trees have been planted.

New benches in Valley of Cross bike path

New benches have been placed along the new walking and bike path under development.

Israel National Library cranes with Knesset in background

The Knesset rises beyond the construction site of the new National Library.

Fog in Jerusalem Israel so thick to obstruct view of Monastery, bird perched outside window.

But then the weather turned from sunny to rainy and cold. Thanks to this bird who perched outside my window, I had something else to photograph other than the grey foggy sky.

People ask, “What is there to do when it is too nasty to be out on the Jerusalem streets?”

Here are three of the easiest answers to this often asked question:

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem – BLMJ

Bible Lands Museum main entrance Jerusalem Israel

BLMJ main galleries take visitors back to the earliest civilizations.

Judea and Samaria archelogical finds

A new exhibit opened with pieces  looted from archaeological sites in Judea and Samaria and recovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Judea and Samaria finds on display in Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem Israel

Each piece has a story, going back many centuries.

 The Israel Museum 

Across the road from BLMJ, one sees the dome of the Shrine of the Book, the home of Dead Sea Scrolls.

Israel Museum antiquities menorah from synagogues

In the Israel Museum, the largest of Jerusalem’s dozens of museums, are collections of ancient Jewish life in the land of Israel.

Israel Museum mummy

Learn about ancient Egyptian Mummies on a audio-guided tour with the latest modern technology.

Israel Museum children's room

Of late, Jerusalem museums have taken a special interest in attracting and engaging children.

Israel Museum Jerusalem children's wing

Multiple exhibits provide young people opportunities to explore and learn.

 The Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem 

Science Museum sign Jerusalem Israel

The science museum had special exhibits on fire for Hanukkah, which were very popular the last days when it was raining.

Jerusalem Science Museum

Check in with information when you enter.

Science museum new exhibit

There are exhibits which are temporary

Safety equipment on display at jerusalem Science Museum

and are constantly changing to engage young minds.

Science Museum exhibit to make and launch paper airplanes

Makerspace was in the main hall on my last visit.

Jerusalem Israel Science Museum

Young people were encouraged to design and fly their own paper airplanes.

Science museum reading corner

There was a reading section called Challenge and Risk.

Science Museum exhibit Fields of Tomorrow

Notice that everything in these museums is in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.

Science Museum in Jerusalem Israel colorful light

Colors and technology are used to attract visually,

Science Museum two boys at exhibit

though sometimes simple things can be made interesting too.

Outside area of jerusalem science museum

Outside areas are much more popular when the weather is pleasant.

Outside play area Jerusalem Science Museum

Play areas outside change regularly and are designed to teach basic scientific principles.

Jerusalem Science Museum dinosaur

This new age dinosaur can be found on the grounds outside.

Science Museum in Jerusalem Israel

I do not think this is the tree of knowledge.

Jerusalem Science Museum play area

But there is no better place to start for toddlers to explore and learn.

These museums, located near each other, have places to eat, and provide more than shelter.

But I must repeat my warning, if you are supervising young children,

do NOT try and do any of the amazing Jerusalem museums if you are a tired adult.

Another piece of advice: check museum hours before going, as they vary day by day.

If you do not have membership, there are days free for children, but costs vary and can be expensive.

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However, in honor of Space Week, the Bloomfield Science Museum is offering free entrance.

Even if Jerusalem is warm and the sun is shining, worth checking out.

Enjoy!

 

Jerusalem, Israel: Climate Change

Jerusalem, Israel: Climate Change

What changes more dramatically than the winter weather in Jerusalem, Israel?

String Bridge top against blue sky

Though some do not love the Chord (or String) Bridge towering over the entrance to Jerusalem,  I think it’s an impressive image against a blue sky.

Jerusalem fog

But the winter fog was so thick on the way into the Jerusalem International Convention Center, the bridge was invisible.

Those construction fences for Jerusalem Gateway Project are constantly changing and spreading.

CEOs of Sodastream Daniel Birnbaum and Pepsico in Jerusalem

Inside the ICC on the main stage of the second day of the Globes Business Conference, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum and Pepsico CEO Roman Laguarta appeared the best of buddies complimenting each other in their remarks. Their plans to change the business climate are impressive.

Men watching video at Globes Conference

Outside in the main hall, food and networking were available on both days. The room only became quiet when Sodastream commercials were shown. Dozens of speakers, experts on business and government leaders presented on the stage in the Teddy Auditorium and smaller venues in the convention center.

Except for the SodaStream – Pepsico segment, most of the business conference was held in Hebrew.

Arab woman speaking at Globes Business Conference

This panel dealt with the topic of disadvantages and challenges faced by women and what needs to change.

Globes Business Conference Tourism in future with Yariv Levin

MK Yariv Levin, Minister of Tourism, spoke at a session on the future of tourism.

Tourism in Jerusalem was rated number one in future growth in a new Bloomberg report. Positive change, with the trend of more tourists is felt daily on the Jerusalem streets and at locations such as Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk.

Prime Minister and President enter hall for new Governor of Bank of Israel

The Israeli economy has been stable and is viewed as positive.  The Prime Minister joined President Rivlin for the appointment of the new Governor of the Bank of Israel on Monday.

Ceremony for Bank of Israel new head Amir Yaron at Beit Hanasi

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon joined the President and Prime Minister to welcome Amir Yaron.

All smiles for the cameras in the morning.

By afternoon this was old news, and then not news, as the government folded.

Talk about change affecting the news cycle!

But at least this one appointment is for 5 years, and is not affected by April elections.

Pesach afternoon and egalitarian space at Western Wall was empty

This egalitarian area at the Western Wall, the Kotel, has gotten media attention, as part of Israel and Diaspora relations.

Area for media at Beit Hanasi for Gesher Fellows

Not as many cameras filled the photographers platform at Beit Hanasi for the Gesher Community Fellows as they did for the packed house of the Bank of Israel appointment.

Ruvi Rivlin and Asaf Liberman at Beit Hanasi for Gesher

President Rivlin was interviewed by Israeli radio’s Asaf Liberman, one of the first round of Israelis selected as a Gesher Fellow.

Gesher Fellows include Miriam Peretz at Beit Hanasi

Israeli Prize winner Miriam Peretz (seated on left) was another Gesher Fellow.

Israelis, of many fields, including the media, once chosen as Fellows, attend sessions, and travel to the US  in an attempt to bridge the gap with Diaspora Jewry, and improve the climate and mutual relations by understanding, with first-hand knowledge.

As Miriam Peretz urged that Israelis learn English, the Hebrew University, closed on December 25th, is contemplating switching instruction to English.

Jerusalem streets ads with one for December 31 music at Tower of David

Hebrew signs line the Jerusalem streets. One in the center announces the Tower of David celebration of the end of tax year.

Jerusalem street sign for Rambam exhibit at Israel Museum sign for Baka family run on top

The Israel Museum has a special new exhibit on the writings of the Rambam, Maimonides.

Someone posted a sign over the ad, for a Baka family run for the evening of December 26, as seen on the top right corner.

Jerusalem Theater

The Jerusalem Theater signs, plays, and performances are in Hebrew.

Jerusalem Israel milk cartoon with Hebrew language lesson

A Hebrew lesson on the milk carton? It is proper to say “Seehuhah” instead of “chat.”

Hebrew Language Day poster in Jerusalem Israel

Ha, ha, we will see how that works, even if December 27, is Hebrew Language Day.

Hebrew sign on sidewalk to clean up after dog

Yes, Hebrew on signs and on the Jerusalem, Israel sidewalks.

Are the winds for Hebrew language change strong enough to take effect?

As I sit here waiting for the winter weather to change again, I will end with two short videos from this past week.

At the Western Wall, the Kotel, after a special prayer service for recovery on seriously injured IDF soldier  Netanel Ilan ben Shaina Tzipora.

Singing slow Hebrew songs, they ended with Am Yisrael Chai. 

With government elections set for April, with jets flying over head last night to parts north, with enemies on and under our borders,

at the conclusion of the Bank of Israel program, all rose for singing of Hatikvah, The Hope.