In Jerusalem, Be the Best you can Be

In Jerusalem, Be the Best you can Be

In Jerusalem, Israel, September days seem to be cooler.

Then along comes a hot day and a humid night.

But summer is over and back to busy schedules.

This was a busy week, one of those when it was hard to decide which events to attend.

Israeli champion female football team, winning soccer players

President Rivlin hosted Israel’s best female football (soccer) players today.

The ASA Tel Aviv team, second-time champions, brought their winner’s cup to Beit Hanasi.

Beit Hanasi President Rivlin posing with women form Movilot

On Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin hosted religious women from Movilot, an organization that promotes employment for ultra-Orthodox women in Israel.

Rivka Ravitz his long-serving Chief of Staff was there for the morning event.

Later in the day, it was announced that she gave birth to her 12th child.

President Rivlin Chief of Staff Rivka Ravitz at Beit Hanasi

I hesitated and did not take a photo of Rivka in the morning, but here is one from last year.

She was always at the President’s side, but stays out of the photographer’s view.

President Rivlin GPO IDF Spokesperson photo for 80th birthday
photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)

The next day without his faithful assistant, the President received a birthday cake.

“There is nothing more thrilling than to celebrate your 80th birthday with the youngest and most daring brigade in the army. With you, I feel safe and young. In Pirke Avot (the Ethics of the Fathers), it says ‘80 years old for heroism.’ But you, you are the real heroes.”

Israel Committee Logistic Center

The September 17 election day is approaching. Before the previous election on a trip to the logistic center, we were told how the day after an election they begin to prepare for the next one.

Israeli election logistic center workers

Did anyone really believe then that indeed we would have an election again so soon?

The only thing for sure about this election is that no one really knows what will happen.

Avigdor Liberman at Israel Knesset Opening

What I can tell you with certainty is there is a new film called”Leiber-Man” directed by Nurit Kedar.  Because of election laws, it cannot be shown on Israeli TV until after the polls have closed on election day. Kedar received invaluable film footage from Alexander Gentelev before he passed away which she incorporated brilliantly in her documentary.

Avigdor Liberman arrived in Israel as a 20-year-old and started working at the airport handling luggage the next day. He has held many senior government positions other than Prime Minister. How his actions will affect the next Knesset will be more clear next week.

I am staying away from political debate and moving on to graffiti.

Jerusalem Israel graffiti

Some of the recent graffiti has been colorful.

If you want, some of the recent photos of ugly graffiti are here.

Jerusalem Israel one year in Guatemala Embassy

This sign for Guatemala was put up over vandalized Honduras thank you. 

Why mention graffiti this week?

Foot bridge near Begin Center in Jerusalem Israel

On my way to the Cinematheque for the “Leiber-man” documentary, I looked down and saw this inscription on the footbridge over Derech Hevron, Hebron Road.

Promised Land on path over Hebron Road Jerusalme Israel

I had to stop, look, think, and go back again.

View from Hevron Road foot bridge of Old City

This view from the pedestrian bridge is one I try and share with participants of photo walks. 

The walls of the Old City are across the Sultan’s Pool. Looking in this direction, Jaffa Gate is in the distance.

This area was part of No Man’s Land from 1948-1967.

View of Old City from foot bridge near Begin Center

I wonder who did this.  What will happen next in the promised land is hard to predict.

Muslim women in Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem Israel

I do know – that nearby Muslim women were having a picnic in Liberty Bell Park.

Inbal hotel welcome banner

Next to the park at the Inbal Hotel, a large welcome sign was up for international delegates for the Declaration of Our Common Destiny.

Common Destiny meeting with Israeli President

Its lofty aim is to support President Rivlin’s challenge to engage unity within diversity. When meeting the scholars and advisors at Beit Hanasi, he said:

“The miracle of the Jewish people is not only that we survived for thousands of years. The miracle is that, despite the fact that we were spread all over the world, speak different languages and developed different traditions, we always were one people. Despite our differences, we remained bound by our shared history, our core values and beliefs, our Book of Books, and our commitment to improving the world. It helped that our enemies always saw us as one people. Our enemies don’t see any difference between one stream of Judaism and another: Secular, Haredi, Reform, Conservative, Masorti – for them we are all Jews. “

Banners at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem Israel

I heard about a very different and special mission which was based at the Inbal Hotel.

The special Children’s Center Israel Trip sounded impressive.

I thank my friend for telling me about Yaakov Shwekey’s family and how they brought a group of special needs children on an amazing trip of a lifetime to Israel.

Oh, there was so much more, but enough for now.

Be the best you can be.

Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

When we lived in Australia, Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, fell in winter.

It was a regular work day and school was not on holiday.

How different is the experience of Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, Israel.

Busy streets are shuttered at night, restaurants, wine bars and street cafes are closed.

For hundreds of years, Jews have been mourning and fasting on Tisha B’Av.

Stones left in pile from Second Temple next to Kotel wall Old City Jerusalem Israel

These stones next to the Kotel, the Western Wall, at Robinson’s Arch, are from the ruined Temple, and remain as a reminder.

Independence Park reading of Eicha

As a sign of mourning, every year Jews sit on the ground or on stones, or a low chair, to read Eicha, the Book of Lamentations.

Walk around Walls Women in Green on Tisha Be'Av

For the last 6 years I have joined in the Walk around the Walls, led by Women in Green.

Women in Green Walk around Walls of Jerusalem

Every year I am surprised by the size of the crowd, as hundreds of people of all ages join in, many carrying Israeli flags.

Walk around walls security leading way

Security led the way for the crowd walking around the walls. Security is always a concern, but I have never felt any danger.

New Gate, Jerusalem, Israel at night

First the walk passed New Gate,

Damascus Gate at night

then Damascus Gate,

People with Israeli flag walking by Flowers Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

and Flowers’ Gate. On this walk I get to see parts of Jerusalem not on my regular routes.

Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich, MK Zeev Elkin, Marc Zell, Yehudit Katsover, Nadia Matar at Lion's Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

At Lion’s Gate, there was a speech from MK Zeev Elkin, along with others. He also spoke six years ago.

Night at Lion's Gate Jerusalem Israel Old City

Lion’s Gate is where, in 1967,  Israeli soldiers entered to liberate the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation.

Lion Gate on Tisha BeAv for Women in Green

I am always amazed how many people stand and sit on the stones in the middle of the night to listen to speeches.

Lion's Gate security drone on ground after Walk around Walls Old City Jerusalem Israel

New this year were drones over the crowd.  The beautiful horses that used to patrol were missing.

Walls of Old City lit at night Jerusalem Israel

As I walked around to the Kotel, the Western Wall, the walls were illuminated.

Group hearing about excavations in Old City on Tisha Be'Av night

I was not alone as I passed a group listening to a guide in the southern wall excavation.

Night time Old City Tisha B'Av Jerusalem Israel

There were many tour groups and guides sharing the stories of ancient Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, Old City section with stones from second temple time and new platform

Walking around to the Kotel, I looked in by Robinson’s Arch, the egalitarian section platforms.

There those ancient stones have remained at the base for millennia.

Western Wall section where stone fell

It is a vast area, and hard to photograph, especially at night. A crop of the photo shows the cracked stone which fell the next day, almost hitting a woman.

Koitel Tisha B'av night Old City, Jerusalem Israel

And as every year, tens of thousands of people were coming and going, sitting and praying, singing, and some even socializing.

Western Wall Plaza on Tisha Be'Av night man and children sitting on stones

They were sitting on the stones or walking somberly, remembering tragedies of old.

View at night of Kotel Plaza excavations

For over 6 years, near the Kotel Plaza under the stones, levels of history are being revealed.

Temple menorah lit at night in front of Hurva Synagogue on Tisha B'Av night

The replica of the golden menorah of the Temple was shining brightly in front of the Hurva Synagogue. It was moved recently when work began on a new elevator access to the Kotel.

Six years of walking around the ancient walls, a simple act that for so many years our ancestors could only dream about. The distance seems less each time, but the hour is always late.

Jerusalem Israel summer festival 360 degrees

A Jerusalem festival this week is called 360 degrees,

however, Tisha B’Av mourning revolves 180 degrees.

After the lows of mourning, the roller coaster of life returns to celebration.

After Tisha B’Av comes a big wedding season.

Jewish wedding in Ein Hemed Jerusalem Israel Judean Hills

A new family starting a new home in Israel.

The situation in Syria is getting more intense.

Hamas continues to burn the south.

However, families from around the world are coming together.

At this wedding in the hills of Jerusalem, as at all Jewish weddings, there is a song to remember Jerusalem.

Not just on Tisha B’Av, but every day, Jerusalem was and is in Jewish prayer.

After Tisha B’Av, so much is happening in Jerusalem, Israel, it is hard to decide what to do first.

For culture, there are large musical performances in Sultan’s Pool and free movies at night in the parks.

For sports fans, there is a street ball tournament and a basketball competition, plus flags are up for 52nd International Children’s Games, set to attract 2000 teenagers.

If you hurry, you could have an up close view, there is a special offer at Kikar Safra, one of the best Airbnb deals ever – HERE

For more Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, photos  HERE