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.

Jerusalem: Diversity, Disability, Culture and Coexistence

What’s new and happening now that Hanukkah is over?

Some chanukkiot are still around on Jerusalem streets, but for many it feels like the holiday was long ago.

Hanukkah on walls in Old City Jerusalem Israel

Projections for Hanukkah like this one over the moat wall of the Tower of David,

Hanukkah show on walls of Tower of David Jerusalem Israel Hanukkah

and this one inside of Jaffa Gate are no longer.

Hanukkah greetings projected on Jerusalem Old City Walls for Hanukkah

But these on the walls of the Old City were still up last night.

Reindeer lights in Old City Jerusalem Israel

The reindeer which were up since Hanukkah also burn brightly.

Jerusalem Israel Christmas decorations

The Christian Quarter of the Old City is only one location with holiday lights.

The Jerusalem Municipality continues its annual tradition of distributing complimentary Christmas trees to Jerusalem’s residents in celebration of the holiday. Two hundred and fifty trees will be distributed to residents on December 20, outside of Jaffa Gate.

A special festive market near the New Gate began with loud and brightly colored fireworks exploding after Shabbat in the sky over Jerusalem.

Israel not isolate Netanyahu to foreign press

PM  Netanyahu repeated one of his favorite themes, “Israel is not isolated and improving relations with Arab neighbors” at the annual Government Press Office New Year toast for foreign journalists.

The event was held at the Shalva National Center to mark the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

As usual there was entertainment. The Shalva Band was very warmly received after a wonderful performance.

However, everyone including the Prime Minister and his security had a surprise.

As the band received a standing ovation and took their final bow, the drummer went over to the end of the stage, bent down, and gave the Prime Minister a hug.

Shalva Center is an impressive complex providing multiple services and therapies to individuals with a wide range of disabilities.

Jerusalem Israel Art and Jazz Festival at Israel Museum

While the GPO event at Shalva was by invitation only, involving many levels of security, the Art of Jazz event at the Israel Museum was open to the public.

Selfie of starting line for Crossroads Janglo night run

After a delay because of rain during Hanukkah, Crossroads and Janglo held their 5th annual night run.

In this photo taken just before race began at the starting and finish line, you can see the winner wearing blue shorts. For the group selfie, he looks like he has already run, won and is celebrating.

Jerusalem Israel sign for ArtBnB festival

AirBnB has been discussed and covered endlessly this week.

But did you hear about ArtBnB music in Jerusalem at the Maffil?

Jerusalem Israel Hullegeb Festival Israeli Ethiopian Arts

The 9th Jerusalem Hullegub Festival featuring Israeli-Ethiopian Arts is December 20 – 26.

Beit Hanasi reception for new mayors and heads of Israel council Moshe Lion speaking

President Reuven Rivlin hosted new mayors and heads of councils at Beit Hanasi, the President’s Residence. Of 100 newly elected community leaders, 60 attended. New Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion got in the last word, but it was noteworthy that many Arab, Muslim, and Christian mayors came to Jerusalem to attend and were asked to speak.

Jerusalem, Israel, Hansen House at night lit up Ester wooden structure

As I walked home one night in the Hansen House garden,  Ester was lit, resembling a spaceship. 

Hansen House at night venue for events

I heard music coming from the direction of Hansen House, so went to see what was happening. Not only is it a new center for arts and technology, but it has also become a popular and colorful gathering places for food, drink and events.

Jerusalem graffiti on Judah Mamacabi Street waiting for Messiah

One Only in  Jerusalem, Israel photo – taken at #7 Judah Maccabee Street  ” WANTED ALIVE  MASHIACH BEN DAVID Reward redeemed world. “

There you have it.

Only a bit of what was happening in Jerusalem.

Diversity, disability, culture, coexistence, up and down, always something new happening.

Miri Mesika’s song from performance at Shalva seemed like a beautiful way to conclude.

For those interested, more GPO at Shalva photos HERE

Singer sewing machine for sale on Jerusalem street

You never know what will appear next on the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Jerusalem Hanukkah New Favorites in 24 Photos

Jerusalem Hanukkah New Favorites in 24 Photos

Hanukkah.

Eight days of Hanukkah in Jerusalem, Israel, are not enough.

With so many things happening, one has to make a list and organize the time carefully.

Lighting the large hanukkiah by the Kotel, the Western Wall, is a popular annual evening event.

New this year, the Prime Minister and US Ambassador conducted a special lighting ceremony,

but it was a very private event on a different hanukkiah, shielded from the heavy rain and curious spectators.

As usual, a large electric hanukkiah was lit each night of Hanukkah over the Knesset.

Hanukia on top of Hadar Mall for sixth night of Hanukkah

New this year was the hanukkiah erected on top of the Hadar Mall in Talpiot.

Advertised as one of the world’s biggest Hanukkah menorahs, it measured 11 meters tall and 56 meters wide.

Man lighting candles at home photo projected on Old City Wall in Jerusalem Israel for Hanukkah

But Hanukkah candles are best lit in the home, as illustrated in this new projection on the Old City walls near Jaffa Gate.

German Menorah from famous photo in Nazi Germany at Yad Vashem in jerusalem

One of the most famous of photos of a Hanukkah menorah hangs on the wall at Yad Vashem, next to the real one displayed in a glass case. It shows a hanukkiah in the city of Kiel, Germany in 1932, with the Nazi flag flying across the street. This hanukkiah is lit each year by members of the family that owned it, its lights burning on after the fall of Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

Jerusalem street Hanukkah menorahs for sale

Before Hanukkah shops featured selections to satisfy every fashion and taste.

Hanukia outside lit for fourth night

On Jerusalem streets one could find a lone hanukkiah lit outside a home,

Yeshiva in Jerusalem with Hanukkah menorahs lit outside

or dozens shining brightly outside a yeshiva dormitory.

Jerusalem Old City man sitting watching Hanukkah lights

The idea is to show, share, and enjoy the lights in celebration of the miracle of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah menorah lit on last night

With a simple hanukkiah at home,

Hanukia at Beit Hanasi preparing for lighting

or a large hanukkiah at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence, Hanukkah was a special time.

The President hosted multiple groups over Hanukkah, morning and night, to join in lighting ceremonies, including groups of Holocaust survivors and children.

Paralympics at Beit Hanasi for Hanukkah ceremony 50 years since Tel Aviv

This Paralympic athlete who was honored to light at one ceremony had a favorite smile.

Jerusalem Israel Yehudah HaMaccabi Street

Did you know Jerusalem has a street named for Judah the Maccabee?

Number 7 Yehuda Hamacabi Street in Jerusalem Israel

On the building at #7 Judah Maccabee Street was this holiday themed graffiti.

Chabad menorah in Mamilla Mall with music and dancing and donuts

Large crowds were found in Mamilla Mall for candle lighting, with music, singing and dancing.

Lighting a large menorah on last night of Chanuka in Jerusalem Israel

The last night of Hanukkah there was a glorious sky at sunset. You see a glimpse of it to the left. We were on our way to one last Hanukkah party in heavy traffic, and slowed to take this photo. Seems like this cyclist stopped as well, along with the cars slowing to watch.

Michael Oren Hanukkah candlelight at Hub Etzion

Missed a great sunset photo, but in spite of traffic made it to Hub Etzion in time for Michael Oren to light the hanukkiah and celebrate at the last Hanukkah party for this year.

Jerusalem Israel Old City walls lit for Hanukkah

In recent years the walls of the Old City were lit up with projections for Hanukkah.

Hanukkah greetings projected on Jerusalem Old City Walls for Hanukkah

This year again a favorite with Hanukkah greetings in multiple languages.

Wall decorated for Hanukkah in Old City near Jaffa Gate jerusalem Israel

Inside the walls by Jaffa Gate, the Old City was the site of a Hanukkalayim Festival.

Hanukkah night festival in Old City

Live performances, music and more lights for Hanukkah.

Glad I went on Wednesday night.

On Thursday it started raining, pouring, and raining some more.

The Bloomfield Science Museum had special Hanukkah fire exhibits and was packed.

Other museums were filled as a day at the zoo was not good option.

Israel Museum with ancient menorahs from synagogues

Going to the Israel Museum had been our original plan.  Viewing menorahs from 4th – 5th century CE in Tiberias, from the Susiya synagogue in the Hebron hills. and from Beit Shean in 5th – 7th century CE, our visit fit the Hanukkah spirit perfectly.

Float in Jerusalem Hanukkah parade with basketball players

Thankfully the weather was perfect for the first Jerusalem Hanukkah Together Parade as it went down King David Street.

Famous balloons did not include Spider-Man, Kung Fu Panda, Anna and Elsa from “Frozen,” Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and Pokemons, but included “others” and Jerusalem basketball players.

Dreydl played by tow boys on the floor on Hanukkah

Rain was no problem for a serious game of Hanukkah dreidel.

Donuts for Hanukkah

Tons of suffganiot were consumed.

Donuts for Hanukkah in bright colors

These colorful ones were not a favorite, I prefer a fresh, simple glazed donut.

Pomegranate open in Jerusalem market

For those wanting a healthier Hanukkah option, there were these any time favorite pomegranates in Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk.

The hanukkiah on top of Hadar Mall, changed colors in this short video.

The projections on the walls of Old City near Jaffa Gate also need a video presentation to appreciate why it was favorite.

Hanukkah menorah made out of Gaza missiles which land in Sderot on roof of Yeshiva

 

A final favorite hanukkiah is found on top of the Sderot Yeshivat Hesder.

This hanukkiah is made of projectiles fired from Gaza into southern Israel.

Hanukkah lights shone in the dark, from Sderot, from Jerusalem, from Israel,

tens of thousands of burning, shining lights in the night.