11 Ways to Enjoy August in Jerusalem

I wonder if everyone slowed down this past week during the heatwave.

Days were so hot in the blazing sun, all I wanted to do was hide in the air-conditioned room and stay off the Jerusalem streets.

But it’s Rosh Chodesh Elul today and the weather person on the radio announced it should cool down to “regular” hot for the week ahead.

Season after season, there are some Jerusalem streets, no matter the hour, I want to stroll and share with you, like this one in Yemin Moshe.

It is fascinating that the new steps look the same after a major repair.

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New sections of King David Street renovations are challenging — they not only surprise drivers but also pedestrians.

The first section of King David Street’s renovation between the YMCA and the King David Hotel is passable now.

The new street is made to look old.

The classic view of the King David Hotel lit up at night – always impressive.

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Summer vacation and people are walking and shopping in Mamilla Mall.

Tourists are enjoying the view from the Montefiore Windmill Promenade. Groups are back on those Segway tours again.

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On hot summer days, the fountain in Teddy Park has been a favorite.

But on this warm summer night, the water was off in the Lions’ Fountain.

Israel has long been known as the land of milk and honey.

This summer at Jerusalem’s Islamic Museum, however, it’s all about coffee.

On a hot summer day, the extensive exhibit offers a good way to keep cool. Who knew of a coffee cup to protect your mustache?

We watched the preparations for the show to open with art,

and artifacts collected from around the world,

an impressive variety of items and displays.

All this is from the small beans originating from Ethiopia.

Not sure that young children would appreciate the rooms of coffee paraphernalia, but there is fascinating historical information on a display that took decades to curate.

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, BLMJ, is also back with a new exhibit.

BIRDS from ancient sources is new in the temporary exhibition hall where YEMEN was last shown. Another extensive collection of valuable ancient relics with detailed explanations, but not recommended for young children.

However, outside on the BLMJ grounds, the site has been developed for children to learn about birds – in a fun and creative manner. Inside this structure, there are multiple activities for children. The bench outside is good for tired adults who are sharing the experience. Early in the day or at sunset are the best times to view live birds.

A flutist was performing for the gala opening event I attended.

The viewing slots are placed at various heights to accommodate multiple museum guests. Remember on one side of Israel is the ocean and the other the desert, so birds appreciate the Jerusalem landscapes and cooler temperatures just as humans do.

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Here is the new Ice Skating rink at First Station. I appreciated the cooler temperature inside the tented area one warm evening. However, it has gotten mixed reviews. The intense heat was not good for the ice. So go early before you find unwanted pools of water.

More of those bikes to rent are ready at stands, but no helmets.

I have not seen any on the road, but I have seen plenty of rental cars. Beware this time of year when drivers new to Jerusalem streets are making dangerous U-turns after making a wrong turn.

Want to get a view above and over the Jerusalem streets?

The Tower of David has the new option to fly high from the Citadel.

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The Jerusalem campaign to lure Israelis to Jerusalem for the summer holiday days features Miriam Peretz in video and print ads, here she is smiling on a Jerusalem street ad sign.

Not sure where to go and what to do? Tour guides are waiting to help you explore attractions.

The Jerusalem Film Festival will be back later in August. The municipality will show outdoor movie screenings in the city center. The Moonlight Cinema Project is to run all August on weeknights…and there’s more – it would be too long to add all the musical events for youth.

But it’s time to start training for the Night Run, August 29, 2021.

I hope we are finally returning to life in Jerusalem, Israel.

Shakespeare is back in Bloomfield Gardens! Friends at Theater in the Rough are performing – Henry IV in Motion. You have 9 chances to share in the fun and adventure – August 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19, 22, 23, and 24, 2021.

Will we see you all soon on the Jerusalem streets for these events?

Shavuah Tov and Chodesh Tov wherever you are, take care and say well.

Jerusalem under Corona Going Up

For months I stayed close to home, so when I ventured out it was a shock.

In Jerusalem, Israel, walking in the park and nature areas had been a daily relief from COVID-19 limitations. But seeing what had been done to the Jerusalem streets in my absence was amazing.

Israel Park with people

Some locations recently renovated have become popular out door spaces.

With the announcement of the renovation, expansion, and renaming of the Jerusalem International Conference Center for Shimon Peres, it was time to go again see what was happening.

It was exciting to see new stairs leading up to where the old parking lot was located. The past years access has been difficult with so many changes in the infrastructure. Every time you came for an event, there was a new traffic pattern and the old stairs were gone.

Jerusalem of old is going and the new is going down and up and up.

The old Kraft Stadium has gone down, just down as seen from the street.

But the housing across the road has gone up and up.

This new Abba Eban Street was one of the first in the neighborhood.

The old Foreign Ministry campus is now a luxury housing project going up.

The bollards are up on the new sidewalk in front the Netanyahu house.

But business in the area is down. This red antique van, parked near Balfour Street for a very long time, was in front of a closed restaurant.

The restaurants and bars are closed, but the bakery is open with patrons waiting outside at a distance, and many food places are selling take out.

Not so easy for a tailor to social distance and survive financially.

But walk up the street and there are new traffic lights and construction.

First time I saw a worker cutting stones on the spot.

The street by the Ohel Nechama Synagogue on the way to the Jerusalem Theater is being redone.

The Jerusalem Theater looks the same, however, it is closed. I just missed a dance class which took place on the plaza outside in front.

This is the new footpath and view from the Jerusalem Theater plaza.

The footpath leads to the new parking lot for the theatre. Seems the builders added a couple of extra floors and now construction has stopped and the action has moved to the court room.

The area around the Jerusalem Theater is very different. Be warned the first time you go to give yourself extra time to figure out which direction is up or down or around.

The Museum of Islamic Art, as are the other museums, is closed and in financial trouble with no visitors. An auction of 200 items from the private museum’s storerooms was halted due to negative publicity.

But there should be more concern for the small business owner who can’t legally open their doors.

Walking around the Jerusalem streets, building after building is going up.

Bus stops have been moved, streets were redone with commercial parking.

The construction fence is gone, and now there’s a new theater in Liberty Bell Park near the rollerblading skating rink and new parking lot.

New seating areas with wooden benches and shade grace more Jerusalem streets since the novel coronavirus crippled the tourism industry.

New paths with fancy wood garbage bins have been installed in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, along with lots of new landscaping.

But walking around Jerusalem, it was good to see some of the familiar sites.

The stairs in Yemin Moshe look the same as before the novel coronavirus.

And the Lion Fountain was back on! No children were splashing and cooling in the water as in past years, but the big lion had the same one drop drip from his chin as before.

So much had changed on the Jerusalem streets over the spring and summer.

The Tower of David is closed to the public for a major renovation. I will share that big project next time. Meanwhile, I will end with a clip from the King David Night and Light Show. Can’t wait to see what they do next!

Hope to be able to share the real Jerusalem streets with you in person soon.

Jerusalem’s Israel Museum plus 4 more you should know

Jerusalem’s Israel Museum plus 4 more you should know

In Jerusalem, the barricades and barriers to keep the public away from world leaders are gone from the streets and sidewalks. People are out again on the streets when the sun appears.

When walking in Jerusalem and someone asks: “where is the museum?”

It is a safe bet to assume they mean The Israel Museum.

Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel

So I point to the path up the hill to Jerusalem’s largest and best known Israel Museum.

However, there are dozens of museums in Jerusalem, Israel.

In the past week, four museums opened their doors for special events.

Winter day at the Tower of David in Jerusalem Israel

It was a rainy, grey day at the Tower of David Museum.

Over the years, this ancient military fortress has become a popular cultural spot, hosting a wide variety of events, exhibitions, and nighttime shows.

In October 2017, within the ancient stone walls, looking to the future, ToD launched its Innovation Lab.

The ToD is constantly looking for new ways and technology to engage young visitors with Artificial Reality – AR and Virtual Reality – VR, and Apps. Wearing special VR googles was not to be the final answer to get everyone involved with their surroundings.

MARS launch of interactive tour option at Tower of David

The newest storytelling-videos taking AR to a new level, launched last week, come from MARS.

Co-founder and CEO Ori Noam explained how his David and Goliath video, developed at ToD Innovation Lab, make the experience unique to the user.

MARS at Jerusalem Tower of David Museum launch

At the entrance desk, for a small additional extra fee, visitors  receive a tablet and earphones. Because it was raining outside, demonstrations had to be inside.

Tower of David Museum demonstration of MARS new tourist option using AR and MR

MARS lets visitors interact with Goliath as seen on this tablet screen.

Mars at Jerusalem Tower of David using tablet for tour option

Using sub-conscience triggers, MARS creates an experience unique to each family or visitor. And these days, of course, the mandatory selfie at the end.

Did you realize last week was Israeli Space Week?

The Bloomfield Science Museum was open two evenings free of charge in honor of Space Week.

Signs at entrance to Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem

Besides the currently running exhibitions on Leonardo Da Vinci and Journey to Space, Israeli Space Week attracted families with young children to the Science Museum. 

Balloon Astronaut at Jerusalem science museum entrance

A giant astronaut balloon hovered overhead at the entrance.

Leonardo Questions at Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem Israel

‘Leonardo’s Questions’ were displayed and answered in the main entrance area with Leonardo’s wings hanging above.

Space week at Jerusalem science museum

Upstairs on the third floor, I was able to get one image before the room filled with excited children. Oh, to channel all that energy.

Planetarium in Jerusalem Science Museum

The planetarium required registration to enter, but for photography, I think outside was better to see the black starlit dome.

Leonardo exhibit at Jerusalem Science Museum

‘Optics and Observation’ was one of the various rooms on the current Leonardo theme.

Meteor rock from Arizona desert in Jerusalem science museum

What would be a good space exhibit without a piece of rock from outer space?

Marc, a former employee of Griffith Observatory in California, held a piece of a meteor found in an Arizona crater. Visitors were encouraged to feel a piece of material that fell from space halfway around the world, right here in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem has multiple private museums on a wide variety of topics.

Front view of Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem on cloudy day

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, BLMJ, is near the Science Museum and across the street from the Israel Museum.

Entrance to YEMEN exhibition at Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem

Its new exhibit is simply called YEMEN. The historical development of South Arabia over the centuries is shown in detail to cover all the senses. I was so impressed with a tour before it opened, I had to go back on opening night to see the finished exhibit.

A woman looks at ancient artifacts from South Arabia now Yemen at Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem

First, the visitor encounters ancient statues and artifacts used for burning incense.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem display of three popular fragrances of ancient times.

The Jews of ancient southern Arabia traveled over long distances by camel with myrrh, frankincense, and balsam. Here one can smell the aromas so important and valuable in ancient times and compare them.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem traditional food from Yemen at opening of new exhibit

I said all the senses. At the opening evening was this traditional Yemenite savory biscuit. I must admit it was not to my taste.

Yemenite man reading Hebrew book upside down in Naftali Hilger photo in Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem

This is one of several powerful photographs by Naftali Hilger on display. Note the Jewish man from Sa’dah is reading a prayerbook upside down. Since books were scarce, children learned to read from multiple directions. Hilger’s photographs taken in the late 1980s add greatly to the exhibit.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem Yemen exhibition

Rich colors, old ritual artifacts, and scrolls,

A woman looks at wall display at Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem Yemen exhibit.

and more recent content, such as this Jerusalem Street sign, add to the scope of Yemenite history.

The father of Batya Borowski, wife of BLMJ founder Eli Borowski z”l, came from Yemen to Israel in 1907. Zacharia Jamil was a talented silversmith and jewelry-maker like his father.

The exhibit with its warm hues radiates the warmth and love Batya Borowski and her daughter,  BLMJ Director Amanda Weiss, have invested in sharing a history unfamiliar to many.

Three rings made by father of Batya Borowski iZacharia Jamil on display in the Bible Lands Museum exhibition Yemen

Three rings made by Jamil are included in the Yemen exhibition.

Fourth and last is the L A. Mayer Museum of Islamic Art, which also has a new temporary exhibition.

Trespassing exhibit at LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem Israel

Titled “Trespassing” in English, meaning stretching boundaries, here are 3 examples of works by fifteen Israeli women, coming from religious communities:

Trespassing exhibition at LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem Israel

Muslim – Fatima Abu Roomi self-portraits,

Female Druze artist with special shawel on floor LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem Israel

Druze – special shawl over a traditional home rug,

Shira Zelwer wax flowers and diorama

and Jewish -wax flowers and diorama.

The Museum of Islamic Art has historical pieces and a magnificent antique watch collection. 

Shira Zelwer wax figures from grandmother's photograph Islamic Museum

What stood out for me in the new pieces was this item. Shira Zelwer’s wax figures in the diorama are three-dimensional images reproducing a 1960’s photograph. They show her grandmother surrounded by the waiters of her catering business in Australia.

I fondly remember her grandmother in her later retirement years, still an active personality.

You never know what you will find on the Jerusalem streets or what memories in its museums.

Scene from YEMEN at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem Israel

From ancient artifacts to futuristic technology, from Yemen to Australia, worlds coming together on the Jerusalem streets and explored and shared in its unique museum displays.