Back on the Jerusalem Streets

Eight years?

It has been eight years since I left Israel to go overseas. I, too, was one of the millions who decided it was time to travel again. It was good to go to the US for a happy occasion and see so many relatives and friends again.

However, I was even happier arriving safely back at Ben Gurion Airport.

Back on the Jerusalem streets in time to see President Herzog depart to the Kingdom of Bahrain, to be the first Israeli head of state to visit Bahrain, on a State Visit at the invitation of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

Oh, the things I saw in America during the shopping sale days

before Thanksgiving and Black Friday crowds.

Glitter and glitz and gifts galore, “Let it glow” next to “Mint to be” caught my eye in one of the bigger stores with endless merchandise.

While back on the Jerusalem streets, the new orange recycling bins are out.

Though with the World Cup Mondiale going on in Qatar – football or soccer – was much more important in many homes and on the Jerusalem streets.

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Plenty of Israeli flags and late-night youth events as “Chodesh Irgun” came to a close, a month of intense youth group activities kept families busy.

On a walk in the midday sunshine after a long flight and being away, I stopped to read all the new posters for some of the upcoming events.

Hanukkah is in two weeks and the preparations are underway.

In celebration of India’s 75th anniversary as an independent state, the Israel Museum is holding a new display, Body of Faith: Sculpture from the National Museum of India.

There is a ride available, but I like the long walk to enter the Museum.

There was Indian music at the opening night reception.

Kosher wine was served, with the kosher Indian food, which went too fast for me to get a photograph, but I was able to grab a few items to taste.

Celebrating India’s art and independence, President Isaac Herzog spoke to

the assembled guests in the museum’s theater auditorium.

The Ambassador of India, Mr. Sanjeev Singla, also spoke at the opening of the new display at the Israel Museum.

The Indian dancers who performed during the program posed near the exhibition upstairs as the exhibit was officially opened.

Going up the stairs quickly, I was able to get a photograph of the main room before it became crowded with visitors.

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Entitled, Body of Faith, Sculpture from the National Museum in India, these rare pieces exemplify ancient religious art.

“Shiva as the Lord of Dance” Tamil Nadu, Southern India, Chola dynasty, (ca.300 BCE-1279) 12th-century bronze piece is on loan from the National Museum in New Delhi.

Fourteen of these historic pieces are seen in Israel for the first time in this important diplomatic and cultural exchange.

India is celebrating 75 years as an established state. Israel’s 75th is coming up soon. There are many important partnerships.

Walking away from the upper floor of the Israel Museum on such a beautiful night I had to stop and take some photos.

As I walked outside down the stairs, marveling how others were missing the spectacular sights, but happy not to have them in my photos.

The Israel Museum any night is lovely and it was good to be home.

Then I noticed the dome of the Shrine of Book was lit purple, one of the Israeli sites marking International Day of Disabled People (IDDP), a global event to promote inclusion and advocate for the rights of disabled people.

Good to be back on the Jerusalem streets. But hoping to see the Jerusalem streets more inclusive. While the Old City is now wheelchair accessible, the elevator is still in the future. We still have a long way to go. I hope you can see for yourself soon.

Jerusalem in Autumn Colors

While I miss the colorful autumn leaves from the North Eastern United States, it was a very colorful week in Jerusalem.

Different colors, such as the colorful wedding we attended to start the week.

Occasionally an interesting leaf appears on a Jerusalem street.

But it was the bright yellow of the blooming flowers

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and newly planted Jerusalem flower beds that really got my attention.

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Under a bright blue sky with white clouds, Jerusalem was full of color.

The Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor was awarded to President Nicos Anastasiades of the Republic of Cyprus at Beit Hanasi by President Herzog.

During the ceremony, the colorful flowers outside the window distracted me and caught my attention.

But I put together a short video if you want to see more of the event.

Not only are there new colors in the smaller receiving room,

but new colorful Jerusalem artwork is displayed on the walls.

A few hours after the Medal of Honor ceremony the furniture was rearranged in order to receive the representatives of the political parties to recommend a candidate to form the new government.

As in the recent past, the President’s discussions were broadcast live.

The procedure began with Likud, the party with the most votes.

The media has the same view on screens from a reception space off the main room, however, I decided to go to see what was happening.

Here a TV news person reported in Arabic as the Noam party finished their turn with a recommendation to the President.

I waited to see the United Arab List (Ra’am) delegation comprising Mansour Abbas MK, Yasser Hajirat MK-elect, and Iman Khatib-Yasin MK arrive on the red carpet to tell the President they would not make a recommendation.

I did not stay around to see if they made a comment after or were followed out by journalists for comment as I saw for the Noam members.

The media was out in full when President Isaac Herzog assigned the task of forming a government to Benjamin Netanyahu MK at the President’s Residence today. So glad I got a front-row seat and was not standing on a chair in the back of the crowded room.

But more was happening this week than election news.

How appropriate that a book launch for “A Banker’s Journey: How Edmond J. Safra built a global financial empire” was held at the Israel Museum.

The Museum Theater where author Daniel Gross spoke with journalist Matti Friedman was next to the Edmond and Lily Safra Art Wing.

Colorful posters line some Jerusalem streets announcing events and festivals, like the Tower of David’s ZEROline II 1/2 on November 11-13.

Then there is the Israel Music Showcase Festival on November 22-27 and more, such as The Train Theater conference to begin on International Children’s Day on November 20, entitled, “How a child writes.”

Just when I thought I had finally found a place to enjoy a bit of fall color,

further down the path were big blue signs blocking the way.

Oh, the Jerusalem streets! Fix them and then tear them up again?

But to end with one piece of good construction news,

New tunnel on Route 60 to Gush Etzion

remember the Summer street scenes of the tunnel to Gush Etzion?

It was reported that one of the new tunnels is ready to open this week.

Perhaps some of the traffic backed up coming off of new Route #16 we ease up with the traffic flowing better out of Jerusalem.

It has mostly been warm during the day, so the leaves in Liberty Bell Park are still full and green. Love the Jerusalem colors as winter approaches.

It may not feel like it, but it’s time to plan for Hanukah, only 5 weeks away!

New this year is a Hanukkah tour of Nachlaot starting with donuts.

Or for those interested in a Jerusalem walking tour without the calories to see the colors of the real Jerusalem streets and lights check HERE

Sukkot Photos in Jerusalem: Best and Biggest

Sukkot holiday week in Jerusalem, Israel, was a busy time, the best and biggest celebration in several years.

Many things were happening at once, here is a recap of only a few events.

With the most international visitors since 2019, the crowds were really impressive.

After the pandemic years of Israel’s closed borders, groups of tourists have returned to the Jerusalem streets.

People in street minayn with lulavim on Sukkot
Credit: WhatsApp Group

Despite the end of pandemic restrictions, some street services are still going strong on Jerusalem streets.

The scene at Jaffa Gate was back to the best days before corona closings.

Inside Jaffa Gate people were coming and going all day from the Old City.

However, even at First Station, it was possible to find a quiet time in the morning along the old train line track.

Big Sukkot crowds at the Kotel, Western Wall were the topic last week.

Did you notice the special small sukkah available near the entrance bridge to the Temple Mount for those who waited a long time for a turn to go up?

A bigger sukkah above the Kotel Plaza even had glass chandeliers.

Nearby, these guys looked comfortable in their comfortable sukkah chairs.

However, in the crowded public sukkah on the Plaza people had to stand.

One man was able to make the blessings, while others stood and watched.

Big, but not best the crowds on the stairs to and from the Kotel. The planned elevator is not going to be completed in the near future.

One of the best – were the multiple stations where drinking water was offered for free, and this one in the Jewish Quarter was “manned” by children.

Much of the Rova Plaza in the Jewish Quarter was filled with big Sukkot.

The Citadel Hotel had dozens of small sukkot on balconies.

Once again, Kikar Safra had the biggest sukkah in the city municipal square.

However, the sukkah was closed to the public on Wednesday afternoon.

Workers were already setting up hundreds of chairs for a city-sponsored Hakel event to be held that night.

People who came to the big Jerusalem public sukkah were turned away.

While nearby, a private sukkah was set up with a sign welcoming everyone.

The biggest chandeliers were in the King David Hotel sukkah.

The desserts on display looked great. I wondered if one could gain weight by looking.

A beautiful private party was set up off the King David lobby.

And as always, a beautiful flower arrangement was displayed in the lobby.

The Inbal Hotel also had a big beautiful sukkah for guests.

In addition, there was a smaller colorfully decorated front-yard sukkah this year.

They also had an impressive floral arrangement in the main lobby.

The Inbal added a comfortable outside sitting area, the best way for guests to meet with visitors who were corona conscious.

A peek into the Waldorf Astoria sukkah, big and impressive as always.

Outside, this big sukkah at Mamilla Mall across from the Old City walls seemed to be filled with people every time I went by.

Sukkot were built on porches, big and small, wherever you looked.

The sukkah at the Israeli President’s residence appeared accessible at the entrance gate area for the annual Open Sukkah reception.

Multiple colorful venues for selfies were spread around the grounds.

I went to get early photos of the staff setting up inside the sukkah,

inside and outside,

before the public was admitted.

As you see, it got a bit too crowded to see the agricultural displays.

Very, very crowded–which could be why the President’s staff tried various other ways for him to make appearances during the day.

If you are curious, I took this photo of the other sukkah in the Beit Hanasi back garden, the one the President’s family and staff can actually use.

I heard people with young children had a negative experience with the security checks. It was not pleasant to remove sleeping babies from their strollers to be checked to enter, but these actors were two of many colorful characters who tried to keep the big crowd smiling.

I tried to see how long the line was to enter, but the Jerusalem Parade marchers were well on their way past the President’s House as I was leaving.

And they kept coming. There were three Jerusalem walking routes in the morning, as well as one in the afternoon.

Sukkot is over. The marchers have gone home. School is starting again. Government offices are open ‘after the holidays’ – finally.

The dinosaurs on display in the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens are leaving.

The big exhibition is on its way to a new location.

But the newest augmented reality art exhibit called Seeing the Invisible will be available after the holidays,

as well as the YAAR art exhibit at the Terrarium. More later on that…

The Pilgrim’s Road under the Old City from Ir David to the Kotel has been developing over the past five years.

It now has an exit near Robinson’s Arch near the ancient Temple stones.

For three intermediate days of Sukkot, there was a unique exhibit called “Arteology: The Power of the Ancients in Contemporary Forms” located in the cistern at the end of the route below the Kotel.

I liked the young boys climbing in the area above, the best of the past and the future coming together in Jerusalem for Sukkot.

My friend Stu Gherman also likes to share photo images of the Jerusalem streets and his exhibition at Heichal Shlomo goes until November 3rd.

Three years ago YA Fine Art Gallery opened. Then COVID kept the doors shut much of the time and people had to stay away. Yehoshuah Aryeh has fine art images, not only of Jerusalem but in many locations around Israel.

Whew, it was quite a big and busy holiday week on the Jerusalem streets!

No longer are the bright and colorful lights wishing all a happy Sukkot holiday on the wall of the Old City near Jaffa Gate.

The lights of the sukkot at First Station at night and all around Jerusalem were turned off and are being packed away until next year.

The day after Simhat Torah the Pizza Hut hut was still up, so I had to take one more sukkah photo after I said no more.

May the holiday blessings keep all well in the year ahead,

and may the Jerusalem streets stay busy with good and even bigger things happening for all to enjoy.

Shana Tova!