Jerusalem: Clouds, Cactus, Color, Crowds, and Cats

With the end of the holiday season, some Israeli flags are slowly disappearing from the Jerusalem streets for the summer.

But flags still out were flying in the wind and wind is great for flag photos.

The week in Jerusalem began with clouds covering the Jerusalem streets, making for cooler days and even cooler nights.

Heavy and dark clouds appeared and some neighborhoods reported light rain. Facebook reminded me there were clouds last year this time also.

They continued at night for dramatic photos of the full moon. Who needs a Blue Moon or Blood Moon? Every full moon over Jerusalem is special.

Each construction crane seems to rise higher approaching those clouds.

Construction appears to be going slowly again at the Netanyahu house across from Yoni Netanyahu Plaza.

The new residence of the US Ambassador to Israeli has been revealed on Emek Refaim. It was hard to get a photo without the cars passing by.

An interesting complex that takes over a large corner of the street. Will be interesting to see if the bus stop there remains and what happens when construction of the light rail line begins. But still, no US flags to be seen.

It was the natural growth and beauty along the Jerusalem streets this week that I appreciated more than all the ongoing building and construction.

Not only the yellow cactus flowers but weeds bursting with color.

Color seems to burst out from the stones in the Old City.

Wonderful to see the tour groups were back in and around the Old City!

Tourists and crowds have returned after two too quiet years.

How long has it been since a friend from overseas made a Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel, the Western Wall? A very special occasion indeed.

But not the only one, as groups crowded in, I had to search for the right Bar Mitzvah boy and his family.

Wonder how many of those tourists will realize this is a new fountain at the new traffic circle on King David Street?

But back to what’s happening now in Jerusalem, signs Just for Youth.

Jerusalem College to give wings for more educational opportunities.

And for all who are interested, every Wednesday during the summer – there is a cinematic celebration with Maaleh films – dramas and documentaries – each week 3 short films by Maaleh Film School students will be featured.

The films have been screened in film festivals around the world and are now available at The First Station and admission is FREE.

Jerusalem Israel restaurant in old silos

On June 23 outside the Silo Café next to First Station, the Jerusalem Community Woodstock Festival returns featuring music from the 60s with live bands. This year my friend is partnering with the Emunah women’s organization, to help support their work with children and at-risk young women in Israel, while also featuring her promising young musicians.

And what would a report on what’s happening on the Jerusalem streets be without at least one photo of a Jerusalem cat posed on a royal throne?

Exciting times as the Jerusalem streets become alive again with tourists and events, and conferences return.

Stay well and hope to see you here soon for a Jerusalem Photo Walk.

Jerusalem Sounds of Music

Who would think the quiet sounds of Jerusalem parks would be a good thing? But children are back in school after a long year at home. Public parks are hosting group activities again, not just providing for family health and sanity with a break out of the house during the day.

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At Takhana Rishona, First Station, on a recent Friday morning, deliveries arrived early for open area dining, and inside seating dining as well.

An outdoor yoga class in the center tent area was happening,

as the aroma of fresh brew from the new coffee bar filled the air.

I was off to meet with Daniel and Yedidia Schwartz near JETH – the Jerusalem Entrepreneur Tourism Hub. A perfect location for their new tour innovation to begin.

Great seeing other groups also as we set off on foot from the Takhana.

The first stop was the Khan Theater, where Daniel, a professional tour guide, told us that the site was built in 1853 as a silk factory. However, it became a night hostel (a khan in Arabic) for Christian pilgrims on their way to Bethlehem, and Jewish travelers on the way to Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs. Since 1968, it has been a popular theater venue.

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Minutes away under the St. Andrew Scottish Guesthouse, near the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, is an archeological site of importance.

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A burial area from First Temple times, featuring posters with excellent explanations concerning the finds, including silver amulets with old Hebrew Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing engraved on them.

Daniel’s tour of Ketef Hinnom and the First Temple period burial site added a new dimension with additional and interesting information.

However, what distinguished this tour from others was the music. Daniel and his brother Yedidia, a professional violinist with the Jerusalem Symphony, entertained us, providing relaxing interludes along the way.

At one of my favorite off-the-street locations, there was time to sit and appreciate nature,

and historical sites, including the Tower of David, along the way to Yemin Moshe and Montefiore Windmill.

Yemin Moshe is a perennial favorite, who can’t but enjoy its beautiful lanes.

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Near the Montefiore Windmill, deserted for so long, people were enjoying the spring-like weather and being out and about again.

In the park area behind King David Hotel, the history of the hotel was retold as nearby groups were getting in their partying before Ramadan.

Celebrating graduation 2021 – and oh what a year it was.

The Lion Fountain had children splashing in the cool water again.

Tourists were learning about the Templar Meeting House next to the Orient Hotel. Tours are for Israelis, with most in Hebrew, as international visitors are limited until May 23rd.

After the Templar houses of Emek Refaim Street, we left for what was advertised as the “Secret Garden.”

In 1880, Martin Pauser built this building as a baker, and he also sold ice cream. During the War of Independence, women and children from Kibbutz Ramat Rachel took refuge here, on what is now called Patterson Street.

In the garden, the tour ended with more music – and wine. I refused to drink so early in the day. But seated in the lovely garden, I felt like I was on a holiday vacation far away – but yet so close to home.

At each stop on the tour, people who walked by would take out their phones and cameras to record the lovely sounds. This tour group was recording us at the last stop, so I finally decided time to take their photo in return.

But really, who could blame them?

The sounds of music and beauty were a treat to celebrate the opening up of Jerusalem streets after a year of repeated closures.

Jerusalem Photo Walks are starting again, in real life and online.

As a guest of Tour de Sound, another way to enjoy the Jerusalem streets

photo credit: Spokesperson Mayor’s Office

Also new – the municipality announces bike rental stations!.

Hope to see you all in Jerusalem one day soon.

December, it’s Hanukkah in Jerusalem

Operation Pillar of Defense is over for most everyone,

wounded soldier

except for the wounded, and of course the families of those who were killed.

Iron Dome

The rockets destroyed by Iron Dome are less of a topic of discussion.

children playing in shelter, Sderot

Children in Southern Israel are no longer in shelters,

but have gone back to school,

Israel soldier

while their big brothers have returned to their regular military service.

Ethiopian children

The children of Kiryat Malachi still have a long, hard road ahead.

But enough of war and politics!  

The calendar has turned to December 

and Hanukkah is almost here!

Machane Yehuda Market strawberries

That means it is strawberry season

oranges

and fresh citrus fruit abounds in the Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk.

dreydels

Piles of dreydels are on display, 

sffganiah, donuts, suffganiot, jelly donuts.

platters of suffganiot, 

chaunkiah, street light menorah

and the streets are illuminated with colorful Chanukiot.

Chanukah bibs

Hanukkah is coming, ready or not.