10 New Things to See in Jerusalem

As usual, there is too much happening to share in one Real Jerusalem Streets photo essay.

This week it was again hard to cut down, but here are highlights of just 10 new events that may have not made your regular media headlines.

  1. The first of two Jerusalem Marathon 2024 finish lines is up over the Jerusalem street for all to see.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization’s annual National Leadership Mission, February 18-22, began with Minister Benny Gantz speaking to delegates at the Inbal Hotel.

2. The mission concluded at the StandWithUs Center with Michael Dickson moderating a panel on social media featuring the new success in numbers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Digital Diplomacy.

Check out them out, trying to combat the billions of hate posts out there.

It is worth a visit to the Jerusalem Shalva Center if only for the writings on the walls.

3. But this time a new sign was also worth noticing, happy that one of the hostages has returned home.

4. The Taub Center Conference at Shalva focused on municipal elections, with more women on a panel of experts than men.

5. New advertising boards are showing election posters for the February 27th Jerusalem municipal elections.

6. The new entrance to the Tower of David Jerusalem Museum is to open soon to the public.

7. Also new, is a public area to sit and enjoy the view outside. Notice the entrance is intentionally not visible from the street. The new modern look respects the old stones of the ancient walls.

On a personal note, I was surprised to see my photo in the informative session for media before the tour of the new entrance and Tower of David’s historic galleries.

The Tower of David is an iconic symbol of Jerusalem – used on everything, including cheese.

8. The new technology used in the exhibits could fill a book and fill the galleries.

Of course, a favorite when visiting the Tower of David is to climb to the top for the views.

Especially on a clear day after a few days of rain, the scenes are amazing.

9. But new to the view is the white Dome of the Tiferet Israel Synagogue nearing completion. The Hurva Synagogue is closer on the right side. In the distance, you see the mountains in Jordan over the Dead Sea.

The Tower of David Museum finished its accessible entrance near Jaffa Gate, and now plans are underway for the area revealed under the plaza outside of Jaffa Gate.

Some southern families are returning home, however, there are still thousands of evacuated people living in various hotels in Jerusalem and throughout the country.

An opportunity to be on the roof of the Aish Center Building in the Old City is hard to pass up.

In the dark is the model of the Temple shines, with the Dome of the Rock in the background.

10. New is the gold lighting on the Al-Aqsa Mosque at night, in contrast to how it looks during the day.

Rabbi Eitiel Goldwicht was inspiring a solidarity mission from the West Side Institutional Synagogue. 

11. Nearby on a rooftop, a new couple was posing for photos and video – mazel tov.

Akiva Turgeman and Ishay Ribo were at Aish for a benefit concert for soldiers and evacuated Israelis.

I didn’t get a video of their performance, but I did get a short video of one of the exhibits at the entrance of the Tower of David Jerusalem Museum.

And it was good just to have a chance to walk through the Rova, Jewish Quarter, and see the golden menorah outside the Hurva Synagogue at night.

New things are happening on the Jerusalem streets,

hope you can come soon to see for yourself.

New February Flowers and Flying Flags in Jerusalem

Another week wondering where to begin and what to include in what’s happening in Jerusalem, Israel.

When the rain stopped the clouds were impressive over the Israel Museum and the valley below. After the rain, green grass and wildflowers pop up from the ground to bask in the sunlight.

It’s always a good idea to take a moment to see the latest at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

The pink cherry tree blossoms burst out last week.

New Israeli flags were posted on the fence around the soon-to-open Japanese Pagoda.

New flags line many Jerusalem streets.

Some new flags and a sign for a fallen soldier were put up across from his former home.

Sadly, too many new flags with the loss of another soldier, killed in the October 7 War.

Finally construction work is slowly resuming on the Jerusalem streets. The new path to the starting line of the Jerusalem Marathon has to be completed before the March 8 starting time.

The 13th Jerusalem Marathon will be held during these challenging times, “based on the spirit of struggle, perseverance, determination, and the victory of the human spirit, especially in times of war.”

On a visit to the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem this past week, under this large welcome sign were smaller posters of hostages kidnapped on October 7.

Inside on the second level is a new exhibit ‘Splinter From the Storm’ where contemporary art is interspersed with ancient artifacts.

Jerusalem has creative works found both inside museums and along the Jerusalem streets.

The juxtaposition of old and new is constantly changing as new buildings tower over the old.

Some things in the Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk, appear the same and constant.

However, seeing bread and rolls packaged in plastic and not in the open is relatively new.

It’s time to sign up for next year in schools as signs along a busy Jerusalem street remind us.

No need for “Bring them home now” signs as a reminder, but they are posted in many windows.

Tens of thousands were at the Kotel, Western Wall on Thursday afternoon, before Rosh Chodesh Adar to pray for the return of hostages. It got less media coverage than other rallies even with both chief rabbis participating in the prayer service.

Some relatives were there also, Bring Him/Them Home Now! can be seen almost wherever you go.

As sad as much of the past four difficult winter months have been, the first lupins have appeared as another sign of spring, new growth, and hope as the days get warmer.

New Am Yisrael Chai banners have appeared on some Jerusalem streets.

It is a good time to get up and go out and appreciate the sunshine.

Seeing what’s new and what else is happening on Jerusalem streets can help improve your mood any day.

100 Days from Jerusalem – See South and North

100 Days

Shabbat Simhat Torah morning when Hamas started a war that they called the Al-Quds Flood.

Thousands of terrorists invaded southern Israel, murdering and rampaging while raining rockets down on us in Jerusalem and throughout much of Israel.

This 100 Days photo essay is a brief review to give you a glimpse into Israel today.

The sun has risen every day since October 7. Those who were awake at 7:10 am today caught sight of a rainbow stretched over the Jerusalem streets.

The Israeli flags and banners “united we will win,” large and small, abound on the Jerusalem streets.

The graves of fallen soldiers in the Har Herzl Military Cemetery, near the new memorial hall, used to be all the same, row after row of identical graves.

But not now. On one of the too many new gravesites of the hundreds of fallen soldiers since October 7, there is a birthday balloon, Yehonatan died on November 10, 2023, days before his 22nd birthday. Photos, candles, flags, and other momentoes also cover many of the new graves.

Workers are clearing new areas for more graves.

At the same time, we were at Har Herzl, there was a 30-day memorial service for one soldier and a funeral for another, which drew a large crowd. As with most people in Israel, we knew friends and families at both of the sad events.

On one positive note, two women were giving out bottles of water to support the mourners as they left.

One way of supporting the families from the south who survived October 7 and cannot go home is through therapy performances for their children. This one was at the Ramada Hotel where hundreds of evacuees have been staying.

A few days, a few weeks, but months in a hotel unable to go home?

Will those murdered on October 7 be forgotten? Jacqui Vital, mother of Adi Vital Kaploun hy”d, is one of many parents who are speaking to solidarity groups to share and keep their memories alive.

So after almost 100 days, it was time to leave the Jerusalem streets, and head south to see, along with so many other groups to witness the destruction denied by so many outside of Israel.

The entrance to Kfar Aza is testimony to what was a beautiful agricultural kibbutz.

Until Hamas terrorists broke through the fences on the morning of October 7.

Murdering, burning, and destroying not only buildings but hundreds, thousands, of lives.

Especially hard hit were the young members of the community, only in their 20s, who were tortured and murdered in their homes.

If you look through the trees, you can see Gaza, only a short distance away.

Yes, it is hard to imagine the destruction by Hamas that morning.

No matter what the UN or IJC say, this was a genocidal attack.

Today we have not only Holocaust deniers, but October 7 deniers.

The next stop was the site of the Re’im Nova Festival where a “Bring Them Home Now” display was at the entrance. Notice that all the signs are in English to try and wake up world’s attention to the very real humanitarian crisis and war crimes.

Pictures have been posted of those murdered on the morning of October 7 at the music festival.

With special attention to those people still missing and held as hostages in Gaza.

Their fate is unknown, as they are held in the deepest terror tunnels as human shields for Hamas leaders.

We also visited Sderot where a new mural has risen over the site of the destroyed police station. I had visited several times on previous media trips south, but that is another story.

Members of our group helped the owner of this sukkah take it down, 96 days after the holiday.

Sderot is a beautiful city with a population of 30,000 people.

It has grown over the years, even under rocket fire from Gaza less than a mile away.

The Sderot Yeshiva roof was reinforced to make the entire study hall a sheltered safe room, so the young men not on active army service came back recently to study, plus former students have come back to support their Yeshiva. But first, they began by finishing up their interrupted Simhat Torah dancing.

On Wednesday night in Jerusalem at the Kotel, Western Wall, 50,000 people gathered to pray for the safety of the hostages and soldiers.

We however were near the Gaza border where volunteers prepared a BBQ, one of thousands in support soldiers in the field.

On Thursday morning we left the Jerusalem streets for Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv is where many of the hostage families have come to organize and support each other.

One initiative was writing a new Torah Scroll for the return of hostages.

The public square renamed Kikar Hachatufim, Hostage Square – is filled with projects.

And nearby, one can find almost anything needed by the families and their supporters.

On the Jerusalem streets, the new garbage trucks

or the rain might have been a topic for this past week.

However, after 100 Days, the fate of the hostages is on everyone’s mind.