Following the Signs of the Times on Jerusalem Streets

It was another one of those roller-coaster weeks.

With all the protests and bad news, good things were happening on and off the Jerusalem streets.

I found the lion! I heard it was moved to the Train Theater. Found it – on TOP of the main building.

To begin the week, I also found myself at the Yitzhak Navon Train Station.

And went inside to go to Tel Aviv University on Sunday evening.

The Nano Science Building was a construction site last visit, it is now an impressive structure.

It’s located near ANU – the Museum of the Jewish People on the Tel Aviv University Campus.

At ANU there is always something new and impressive to see.

However, I went for a special event on June 23 for International Widows Day.

At ANU, like most anywhere in Israel, October 7 is very much on people’s minds and hearts.

The entertainer arrived in his reserve duty uniform.

It was not part of his multi-costume changing performance.

New ads for summer are up on the Jerusalem streets , with ice skating returning to First Station .

Over 111 days later, the pain is no less.

But it is the end of June, and the graduation season is in full swing.

This was one of two engagements set up near the Montefiore Windmill on Thursday night,

while the music of the Jerusalem Street Orchestra performed at the On the Roof Festival nearby.

There was no water dripping from the large lion in the Lion Fountain.

First Station is going under serious changes. Looks like the early stage of the cable car is under way.

Went to check out the scene of the serious fire near the Israel Museum.

The damage was evident in the area closest to the museum.

I was going to the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem for an event honoring teaching innovation.

Tzemach David Foundation founder David Magerman and Rav Rimon were pleased to be at the inaugural event, presenting cash awards to Israeli teachers helping children of Olim adapt more easily to the Israeli school system.

A sign of the times: the daughter of an honoree was allowed leave from the IDF to attend, and her father was taking her back to her army base.

A child with a parent with a weapon slung over their shoulder is a common sight on the Jerusalem streets.

A sign of the times.

A time filled with trepidation to open the news each morning, but balanced with the births, graduations, weddings, and sounds of music on the Jerusalem streets.

How many empty chairs for Passover seder this year?

Passover 2024 or Pesach 5784, will be different from last year on the Jerusalem streets.

The Chag Aviv, or the Holiday of Spring, can be seen in nature as the bees have returned.

As usual, baskets for unopened bread products can be found on the Jerusalem streets,

plus special bins to burn the bits of bread and crumbs on Monday morning before the holiday begins.

However, this year there will be thousands of empty seats at the Seder table on Monday night.

National Library of Israel entrance with faces of the murdered

The faces of the 1,200 murdered in the October 7 Massacre were illuminated in the new National Library.

At Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence a ceremonial presentation of certificates was held.

The families of the three young Israelis who escaped from their Hamas captivity in Gaza, only to be shot by friendly fire were acknowledged.

Iris Haim mother of Yotam Haim, posed and smiled for a photo. There were more than the usual amount of hugs and tears that day. I refrained from photographing the most powerful scenes.

The next day back at Beit Hanasi, 30 nurses were honored in advance of International Nurses Day. Even though the audience was asked not to photograph, phone cameras were used repeatedly by family members and friends. Each nurse was called up by name and her story was briefly recounted. One was the nurse in Beeri on October 7. One had been taken captive to Gaza on October 7. The hospitals mentioned were from the north to the south of Israel.

One of the nurses was Talya Slotki, the Nursing Coordinator in the Pain Clinic at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel, who was awarded an Honorable Distinction for Bravery and Heroism.

Her husband, Rabbi Shmuel Slotki shared their story with our solidarity mission at the beginning of January along with a video of his sons and family.

On the morning of October 7th, their two sons, Noam and Yishai, left their home when the attack began and traveled south to join in the brave defense of the besieged communities along the border. Both sons fought heroically before falling in battle.

For the next week, their exact whereabouts and fate were unknown, before the family was informed that both sons had been killed.

Following the completion of the shiva, Talya continued to work to provide critical medical care in addressing and alleviating pain. Among many of her patients have been soldiers evacuated from the fields of battle who were treated for a wide range of injuries – many included painful orthopedic wounds and burns that have required intensive attention and care.

As I read about the commendation that Talya Slotki received, I remembered when Rabbi Slotki entered the room to speak to our group. Rabbi Doron Perez left his spot at the front of the room and went to hug him.

At 97 days from October 7, Rabbi Perez and supporters completed a Torah in the merit of the return of the members of the Perez tank crew missing since the day Hamas started the war by invading Israel.

A month ago the Perez family had a funeral to bury a bloody shirt after a video was found showing that the young soldier who held off the invasion was not only injured but killed. He was no longer counted among the 133 hostages still possibly alive in Gaza.

As we approach 200 days from the Shabbat Simhat Torah massacre and anticipate Passover the remaining hostage’s fates are unknown.

Table set for Passover meal

Passover tables are being prepared for the seder meal and retelling of the story of freedom from Egypt. The freedom of Israeli hostages and the many empty chairs at the seder are very much in mind.

In addition, the tens of thousands from north and south are still under constant rocket fire and unable to be home for all these months, as well as the soldiers on duty to protect against further attacks.

But to end on a brighter note, the colorful spring flowers are as usual lining the Jerusalem streets.

Now it’s time to finish preparing for Passover.

Hebrew sign Happy Passover, bus sign in Hewbrew

Passover Kosher and Happy

Remember, the Hagaddah ends with “Next year in Jerusalem!” Let’s hope we can all celebrate once again joyfully on the Jerusalem streets!

Jerusalem 6 Months After Forced into the October War

Sitting down to do a weekly post it’s impossible today not to mention last night.

Iran’s attack on Israel overnight, 331 missiles were launched, including:

185 surface-to-surface missiles, 36 cruise missiles, and 110 ballistic missiles. Plus 180 drones for good measure.

All were intercepted except for 7 of the ballistic missiles.

Jerusalem, Israel had its share of interceptions, with one loud siren warning in the middle of the night..

So tired today that my watch ended up in the washing machine for a full cycle.

Surprisingly good news, it has the correct time and is still working!

Since October 7, the cloud formations at sunrise and sunset have been amazing.

A memorial event was held for Lucy Dee and her daughters murdered by terrorists on October 7, 2023.

Rabbi Shlomo Katz joined Rabbi Leo Dee in the new social hall in Efrat in memory of Lucy Dee.

Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi spoke brilliantly as usual.

The hall was crowded to the max with friends and family and for words of Torah, comfort, and song.

The military cemetery in Gush Etzion has grown too crowded these past 6 months.

The new bright colors of spring flowers in Jerusalem offer contrast to lives lost too soon.

Rosh Chodesh Nissan has long been a time for anticipating spring and new life.

This past week a special Women’s Rosh Chodesh event was held at the Yeshurun Central Synagogue.

Hundreds of women and girls filled the sanctuary to hear Sivan Rahat Meir speak.

And join the main event –the musical Women Unite in Prayer – Hallel Nissan – Ricka Razel.

For those who love to hear women singing and celebrating – YouTube HERE

Afterward, walking on Keren Hayesod Street I noticed a new sign for US offices,

and for a new place to eat (and drink) that just opened.

And while stopping to speak with a long-time friend, it started to rain!

Spring rain is good for the new flowers, this Jerusalem flower bed now has two yellow ribbons.

The lions were bright yellow on Friday in the Old City.

Hundreds of children, parents, and grandparents attended special events before the Passover holiday.

It was also Eid al Fitr and hundreds of Muslim families were out near Jaffa Gate on their way to Old City,

and in Mamilla Mall celebrating the end of Ramadan.

So life goes on in Jerusalem, shopping and preparing the Passover, but under the constant reminder of the hostages who are still in captivity to come home and the threat from Hamas and Iran.

Day or night, highlights and beauty abound on the Jerusalem streets.