This time of year, in Jerusalem, Israel, with the beginning of the Hebrew month of Shevat and the approaching “New Year of Trees,” we anticipate new growth and spring.
Walking yesterday toward the Knesset, I spotted the first wild flowers in bloom.
New paths are being prepared through the Valley of the Cross.
There are no blossoms on the almond trees yet, but new olive trees have been planted.
New benches have been placed along the new walking and bike path under development.
The Knesset rises beyond the construction site of the new National Library.
But then the weather turned from sunny to rainy and cold. Thanks to this bird who perched outside my window, I had something else to photograph other than the grey foggy sky.
People ask, “What is there to do when it is too nasty to be out on the Jerusalem streets?”
Here are three of the easiest answers to this often asked question:
The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem – BLMJ
BLMJ main galleries take visitors back to the earliest civilizations.
A new exhibit opened with pieces looted from archaeological sites in Judea and Samaria and recovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Each piece has a story, going back many centuries.
The Israel Museum
Across the road from BLMJ, one sees the dome of the Shrine of the Book, the home of Dead Sea Scrolls.
In the Israel Museum, the largest of Jerusalem’s dozens of museums, are collections of ancient Jewish life in the land of Israel.
Learn about ancient Egyptian Mummies on a audio-guided tour with the latest modern technology.
Of late, Jerusalem museums have taken a special interest in attracting and engaging children.
Multiple exhibits provide young people opportunities to explore and learn.
The Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem
The science museum had special exhibits on fire for Hanukkah, which were very popular the last days when it was raining.
Check in with information when you enter.
There are exhibits which are temporary
and are constantly changing to engage young minds.
Makerspace was in the main hall on my last visit.
Young people were encouraged to design and fly their own paper airplanes.
There was a reading section called Challenge and Risk.
Notice that everything in these museums is in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
Colors and technology are used to attract visually,
though sometimes simple things can be made interesting too.
Outside areas are much more popular when the weather is pleasant.
Play areas outside change regularly and are designed to teach basic scientific principles.
This new age dinosaur can be found on the grounds outside.
I do not think this is the tree of knowledge.
But there is no better place to start for toddlers to explore and learn.
These museums, located near each other, have places to eat, and provide more than shelter.
But I must repeat my warning, if you are supervising young children,
do NOT try and do any of the amazing Jerusalem museums if you are a tired adult.
Another piece of advice: check museum hours before going, as they vary day by day.
If you do not have membership, there are days free for children, but costs vary and can be expensive.
However, in honor of Space Week, the Bloomfield Science Museum is offering free entrance.
Even if Jerusalem is warm and the sun is shining, worth checking out.