Seeking the Pope in Jerusalem

With preparations fit for a king,

or maybe a US president,

pope in jerusalem

Pope Francis arrived in Jerusalem, Israel.

pope in Jerusalem

The man wearing white shorts and I waited around to get a photo,

but this was as close as we came to seeing a Pope.

We talked long enough at New Gate for me to find out

that he was an Iranian studying physics in the US.

I cannot believe I forgot to ask him what his plans are after he graduates.

My plan to walk home through the Old City failed.

pope in Jerusalem

Inside and outside Jaffa Gate was shut tight, closed to the public.

image street musician

Pretty lonely night, it was much quieter than usual all around.

Then Monday morning nice and early,

security for pope

streets were shut.

security for pope

This is a one-way street, want to guess which way?

security for pope

Traffic was going out any which way, as this double bus blocked the road.

Credit to its driver who could maneuver that huge thing there.

security for pope

But it worked, and this main street was clear of traffic.

security for pope

And then King George Street,

where the Pope was going to meet the chief rabbis, was closed to traffic.

pope in Israel to meet chief rabbis

Though that meeting was not going to be for another hour,

these guys seemed serious,

and no way was I or anyone else going to get by.

pope in Israel

I just wanted to go to Jewish Agency Building down the street,

but we had to walk around a different way.

Pope in Jerusalem

Security had to stand in hot sun all day,

pope in Jerusalem

but we all had to walk around past this line of sitting cars.

pope in Jerusalem

Finally, I did get to here from there.

pope in Jerusalem

After the Pope and Rabbis and the very select guests left,

the Heichal Shlomo lobby was much easier to enter.

Then there was the area around Beit Hanassi, the President’s House.

Again I had to walk all around to get to where I needed to go.

pope in Jerusalem

Residents on the street had no parking for days.

 I arrived to the spot where in May 2009,

I had been able to see the Pope’s limo leaving,

bus blocking street

but this time a special reinforced bus was blocking the road.

pope in Jerusalem

Security was so tight that this is as close as I could get.

pope in jerusalem

This man was holding a sign “Baruch haba Chaver,” Welcome my Friend.”

Pope Francis was given a red carpet welcome,

but certainly many sighed with relief when his visit ended

and he flew safely back to the Vatican.

yom yerushalyim, white nights. lilah lavan

But do not think all will be quiet for long.

לילה לבן

Tonight is White Night,

and music will blast all night in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

as Yom Yerushalyim, Jerusalem Day

celebrations begin at sunset.

Pope Francis View from Notre Dame

Ever walk by something many times and not really notice?

Even with my camera always out and ready,

I had not really paid attention

image St Louis Hosptial

to this building,

image St Louis Hospital

the Saint Louis French Hospital.

image St Louis Hosptial

Its gates were opened recently for a few hours to the press.

fresco image, picture of art under paint

Damage from a broken water pipe revealed hidden art on the walls.

Built across from New Gate of the Old City in the 19th century,

Comte Marie Paul Amédée de Piellat, a French nobleman funded,

designed and decorated the building after World War I.

DSC_4333b  frescoes on wall of hospital Jerusalem, Israel

His frescoes

photo art in St Louis Hospital

were revealed to the public after years out of view,

that whole story  has been written up in many places.

But, though I have seen the Israeli Antiquities photos of these frescoes,

image Rabbanut kosher certificate

no one posted a photo of the Kosher certificate near the entrance.

This hospital run by the Sisters of St Joseph of Apparition is kosher.

There is no sukkah,

but 50 volunteers came from Germany to clean for Passover.

 Arriving after the official tour had ended,

one of the two chaplains kindly showed me around.

Going through the nuns’ private upstairs sleeping quarters to the roof,

picture NOtre Dame Jerusalem Israel, photo where Pope is staying in Jerusalem

was a great view of Notre Dame where Pope Francis

will stay on his visit in Jerusalem, Israel.

image pope Jerusalem, Israel

By roof top, Notre Dame is just a hop, skip and a jump away.

image view Jerusalem

Too bad the patients at St Louis are much too ill to enjoy the views,

like this hidden oasis in back of the hospice.

image from ST Louis Hosptial

I could have spent hours up there,

image Jerusalem, scenic view Jerusalem

with incredible views

image view Jerusalem, Israel

of Jerusalem, Israel, from all directions.

When security is high, sharp shooters are posted on roof tops.

Ever wonder what that is like?

Now you know what they will see for Pope’s visit.

Too bad that streets will be cleared when Pope Francis arrives,

image Palestinian women Israel, photo Arab women, picture Palestinian Jerusalem

he will not see the real Jerusalem streets.

Pope Francis Preparations in Jerusalem

Pope Francis is on his way to the Middle East for a quick visit.

Before his arrival in Jerusalem, Israel,

image welcome sign Pope

signs have been posted in English

image pope

and Hebrew,

image pope visit.

lots of signs,

image Vaitican flags, photo Flags of Vatican

and lots of Vatican flags.

Tens of thousands of tourists are expected,

including hundreds of journalists and photographers.

image Skorka, photo Skarka

Rabbi Abraham Skorka from Argentina, is a close friend of Pope Francis

 going back more than 20 years.

They co-authored a book and anchored a TV show together

before Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became Pope.

 Skorka was involved in planning this Papal visit

 to the Holy Land from its inception,

he said every detail has been carefully examined.

image Pope preparation, photo getting ready pope

The steps at Heichel Shlomo got a power wash,

while inside,

in the hall where the Chief Rabbis will greet the Pope,

image pope visit, getting ready for Pope in jerusalem

the current photo exhibit was carefully removed.

image pope visit, Heichel shlomo art

Special pieces from the Museum on the third floor were

 brought down just for the Pope’ s Monday visit.

On Monday parking will be limited.

Streets will be closed.

image president house Jerusalem

Security and barriers are already up at Beit Hanasi, the President’s residence.

Preparations are so extensive that one woman told me she was already,

all poped out.

But my favorite,

image preparation for Pope  visit

in preparation for the Pope,

Paris Fountain

image fountain

was having a bubble bath to get clean.

Last Papal visit in May of 2009,

pope in limo

I really wanted to see the Pope Mobile,

but Pope Benedict arrived in a regular limo.

Will be interesting to see what will happen this time.