Jerusalem: Parades, Runners and New High Flyers

Many were worried that the three-day (Saturday night through Monday)

Lag B’Omer celebrations with their smoky medurot, large bonfires,

would cause worse air quality than the usual holiday pollution.

But thanks to Israeli basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv 

 playing in the Euroleague Championship basketball final,

photo Israel basketball winners

so many people came inside to watch the exciting game

that there seemed to be a lot less smoke this year.

Maccabi Tel Aviv won in overtime!

The team has already been to the Prime Minister’s office 

and is invited for a special reception today in the President’s House.

Lag B’Omer and International Museum Day were celebrated on Monday.

Thousands of school children on school holiday filled museums

which had no entrance fees in honor of Museum Day.

image Palestinian, photo Israel occupation, picture Israel oppresion

We had a great time in the Bloomfield Science Museum as always,

with lots of new exhibits and activities.

image large torah, man dressed in costume,

 Lag B’Omer gatherings and parades Sunday in the Rechavia neighborhood

image old city, view Teddy Park on Lag BOmer, photo people in park

and Monday in Teddy Park near the Old City were just two of many events.

There was one unique event on Monday afternoon.

In a first-ever Run for Peace, 

image Pat Farmer, photo runners near Jaffa Gate,

Australian ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer (in the blue shirt)

and a few of his supporters arrived at the end of his 1500-kilometer run from Lebanon.

image Pat Farmer, photo old city, image Pat Farmer Peace Runner

After running around 80 kilometers a day,

athlete Pat Farmer’s advice was to “put one foot in front of the other.”

Following a small press conference at Jaffa Gate,

image Australian ambassador,

Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma told another gathering in honor

of Farmer at the King David Hotel how proud Australia is

to support sports and all efforts for peace.

All was not sports and parades.

image Jerusalem Writers festival

The week-long International Writers Festival opened in Mishkenot Sha’ananim.

But the real action was found outside,

just down the road from these two venues.

image skate boarder, new skate park in Israel photo, picture Jerusalem skate park

People were in the air, flying high

image Jerusalem skate park opening,

after Mayor Nir Barkat cut the ribbon of the new Skate Park Jerusalem.

image new skate park, photo large skate board rink,  jJrusalem skate park

The large rink is located in a section of the Liberty Bell Park.

Though some may not think of this as popular sport,

hundreds of people from all over Israel came for the opening,

image skate park, photo children watching skaters, skate park at night

children with skate boards tucked under their arms,

image Jerusalem skate park

and others watched as the best riders from all over Israeli showed their moves.

While the runners raced along the Jerusalem streets without getting a second glance,

and the parades stopped traffic for a bit,

 this Skate Rink is really something!

Additional photos: Peace Run and Skate Park

Lag Ba’Omer is Bigger, but is it Better than Ever?

In many places around the world a big community bonfire

for Lag Ba’Omer is considered a major celebration.

The thirty-third day of counting the Omer which started on Passover 

has become a day of weddings, bar mitzvahs and musical celebrations.

However, this minor Jewish holiday

has escalated to gigantic proportions in Israel.

Meron was so over-crowded this year that the security services closed it off,

buses stopped running and many were stranded for hours.

Hot weather in Jerusalem, photo Jerusalem, J Street

And, this year it was hot, really hot.

Many photos were published of men standing

around large Lag Ba’Omer bonfires in religious neighborhoods.

Jerusalem photo, J Street, image Lag B'Omer

However, in open spaces all around Jerusalem, Israel

Medura, Jerusalem photo Lag B'Omer

thousands of people lit medurot, bonfires.

Jerusalem Lag B'Omer, Jerusalem photo

Some were tended by children,

Jerusalem Lag B"Omer

while others were large family gatherings.

Man taking potatoes out of fire.

These modest sized fires were not lit just to burn any

and every bit of collected wood, but were also used for cooking.

This man used a long stick to remove dozens of cooked potatoes.

It was good to see that his water can was so handy,

as heavy winds this year caused sparks to fly and clothes to burn.

;lag B'Omer photo

As always with so many small children around so many open fires, 

the low number of serious accidents is nothing short of miraculous.

And this year we had two nights and two days for Lag Ba’Omer!

Since the real time fell out right after Shabbat, the Chief Rabbis

said to wait and celebrate instead on Sunday night.

So this year for two nights smoke filled the night air.

As you might have guessed I am not a big fan of these hot, smoky nights.

And school vacation was extended from one day to two days off!

While the Knesset is dealing with future school vacation days,

 parents and children needed something to do on Lag Ba’Omer.

One activity was again organized by Chabad Rechavia.


This year their parade stopped traffic on Ramban Street.

Image Lag B'Omer

Along with the marching drum band were this large Torah and candle,

Image Lag B'Omer celebration, Jerusalem photo

as young and not so young,

Lag B'omer on King George Street

marched to King George Street.

Lag B'Omer parade on King George Street

Rabbi Goldberg and so many cute kids were smiling,

Great Synagogue on Lag B'Omer

as they gathered in the plaza of  The Great Synagogue for music.

Lag B'Omer in Jerusalem, Jerusalem photos

One small Lag Ba’Omer celebration, one small step.

Chabad slogan to love all Jews, Jerusalem pictures, J Street

“I love all Jews.”

What a feel-good event, in spite of the temperatures,

and I am not just saying that because the Rabbi’s mother is a fan.

Medura on Lag B'Omer photo

For Lag Ba’Omer, one medura, bonfire, night is enough for me.

Now I must run,

as it’s time to get some cookies and milk ready,

no school today.

 More parade photos HERE.

Jerusalem Green and Accessible

Wow, did I make a mistake;

 I thought this was going to be a quiet week.

Israeli flag image

It began as the extra Israeli flags were taken down. 

(Make sure you did not miss all blue and white photos

from Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day in Jerusalem.)

Then came unseasonable, heavy rains and cold temperatures,

 it felt more like winter than spring.  

David Citadel Hotel rain

The doormen of the Citadel Hotel had out their large umbrella stand,

 it was not an easy time to stay either dry or warm.

 Then the rain finally stopped on Sunday evening and the sun came out,

and everything in Jerusalem turned green.

Image of Cool Globes, large world globe photo

First, I went to see the Cool Globes on exhibit near Jaffa Gate.

Large globe picture

These 18 large globes, each a unique work by a different artist, were

installed for Earth Day and will remain in place through the summer. 

Then I walked over to the YMCA for the opening of  the first

 International Jerusalem Symposium on Green & Accessible Pilgrimage.

There were way too many events and speakers to list here, but


 Forsan Hussein, CEO of the Jerusalem International YMCA

welcomed the many international visitors to the city of Jerusalem.

official tourists with deputy mayor

 Deputy Mayor Naomi Tsur, who started the green and accessible initiative, 

posed with Dr Jose Bernal-Stoop from Mexico on the left

and Count Phillippe Piccapiertra, 

the Grand Chancellor of the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.

While there are always thousands of international visitors

who arrive in Jerusalem, Israel, daily, this

photo man with walking shoes.

 gentleman is the only one who I know who walked here from Sweden,

and I have to add that

WAlk for peace

 Nilsson Jorden, a Brother of the Military and Hospitaller Order

of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, has a great sense of humor too.

When I told him what I had written about him on the opening night

I was very relieved when he laughed.

I had not heard of this Order before, but their plan to make

  The Old City accessible to all by way of special scooters sounds amazing.

Many Interfaith sessions and discussions were held,

Black Imam with female rabbi

Imam Farid Ansari of the Muslim America Dawah Center of Rhode Island,

seen here with Rabbi Amy Levin, came in specially for this symposium.

Picture Green Pilgrim

There was such an ambitious program with so many initiatives and

progressive ideas to improve use of natural resources for the future,

that I will have to share more on this another time.

But now on the Jerusalem streets, it is that time of year,

picture getting ready for Lag B'Omer

when young people have started gathering every bit of wood, old trees,

or beware, even watch out for your outdoor furniture,

and anything else that that will  burn for the Lag B’Omer bonfires.

Ilan Shochat image

  Safed Mayor Ilan Shochat, in his excellent presentation, 

did mention what the four ancient Israeli cities have been known 

for centuries for four elements,

Tiberias = water,   Safed = wind,    Hebron = land


Jerusalem = the city of “fire.”

Watch out for those fires this weekend!

Let’s hope we can keep Jerusalem green and accessible to all.

More photos from conference HERE