Jerusalem by Night and Day

How was your week?

I found following the news, this past week has been more challenging than usual. It is hard to figure out what is real and what is fake news. Old images from video games were posted as current events in Ukraine, plus not knowing what will happen next. It is just so unbelievable.

Last week RJS shared the photo of the former Putin Pub a few hours after the name Putin was removed from the popular Russian bar on Jaffa Road.

Today, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the third conversation between the two leaders in the past day. Bennett took a flight to Russia on Shabbat to meet with Putin and took Zeev Elkin along to translate.

No way I would dream to predict what will happen next, but I will share what happened last week in Jerusalem, Israel, that you probably missed due to the world situation taking over our hearts and minds.

The new lights on the Jerusalem Great Synagogue brighten it at night.

I was on my way to the Yeshurun Synagogue where a special service was being held in memory of Esther Pollard z”l.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion was one of a long list of speakers. The entire program was broadcast live and available on YouTube. It was in Hebrew, but Jonathan Pollard spoke at the end in English.

Jonathan Pollard rose from his seat to shake hands with the Mayor.

The synagogue main hall is one of the larger venues in Jerusalem.

The same night, also off of King George Street, was the second week of this year’s Shaon Horef.

The Winter Noise street festival was held on Shatz Street this week.

Again with video animations on buildings and live music, food and drink.

But what was special this winter night was the grand opening of the renovated Gerard Behar Centre and Beit Ha’Am.

There was a silver-studded doorman on the red carpet.

And a golden ballerina inside where invited guests were munching on fancy hors d’overves being passed around on platters in the lobby.

A very exciting event for Jerusalemites and visitors, there’s now a well lit parking lot on the adjacent Menora Street. How long was this street off of Ussishkin Street impassable as a construction site?

Also, this week at the Isrotel Orient Hotel, was the renewed regular meeting of

The Jewish Agency Board of Governors. In the past I had always attended at least one session. The Jewish Agency staff in Eastern Europe is working overtime with the Ukrainian/Russian crisis. This year the Jewish Agency governors were too busy to have meetings open to the media. They still have not selected a successor to Isaac Herzog to be the new Chairperson.

The visit of the new Chancellor in Germany to Jerusalem was a much more public event. Most of his short visit was spent at the King David Hotel on King David Street.

When Bennett met German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the hotel for a press conference and lunch, security was very high.

After Scholz left, the German flags were still lining the Jerusalem streets, but the armed security personnel were no longer posted on the street corners along the route of the motorcade.

As I mentioned last week, it was good to see people out along the walls of the Old City and tourists back on the Jerusalem streets.

Paris Fountain came back this week, but construction is far from over.

The Jerusalem Marathon signs for the March 25, 2022 races are hard to miss. Runners can be seen training for the Friday morning run all over town. Should be interesting to see what happens as March 25 is also the day when the clocks change.

The weather is also up and down, cold and wet, hot and sunny. But a new Spring Festival in Jerusalem, Eat & Show, has been announced on Jerusalem street signs.

Of course, if it’s after Rosh Chodesh Adar, Purim preparations are well underway. Purim for families in Jerusalem is a list too long for now.

Celebrating Purim on Friday again is not my favorite thing.

However, I did put a few favorites together in a short video to share some of the highlights of this past week, from quiet parks by day and dynamic music and dance by night.

The skies are finally open again.

Take care and hope to see you soon on the Jerusalem streets.

Back on the Jerusalem Streets

My grandfather left Russia as a teenager for the US in the early 1900s.

Often I have thought about how different life would have been if he stayed in Odessa with his brother. Families were kept apart for decades by the Iron Curtain. A medical emergency and a “random” encounter involving a neighbor and a photo brought our cousins from the FSU back into our family and our lives.

Especially this week the impact has been hard to ignore.

The sun was shining after days of rain, so glad it was nice to get out again and the first thing I did was walk to Jaffa Road.

Yes, it was true. The Putin Pub had covered over its sign and only a faint ‘P’ could be seen. No, I was not the only one stopping to take photos.

But much more to share of what was happening in Jerualem this past week.

The changing Jerusalem, Israel, skyline will be a shock to those who have not been here the past two years during the pandemic closings.

Though most restrictions are to be lifted on March 1st, there are plenty of tourists walking on the Jerusalem streets now. Tour guides had extremely difficult times during the past two years. It was good to see my friend with a nice group again.

After missing last year, the Conference of Presidents was back in town.

New Conference CEO William Daroff had a lot to smile about.

In one of the sessions on the record and extremely timely, the US, China, and Russia, oh, and Iran situation were discussed. Anna Greifman stated the West does not understand Putin’s ideology and the Russian mindset. Some of those “experts” who said he was merely threatening are those pushing for concessions to Iran.

This was a conference very much still concerned with corona. Hand sanitizer and tea anyone?

Each day a negative antigen test was required to attend.

Networking in the hall while waiting for corona tests results was not so bad.

Back in Jerusalem, Erick Stakelbeck was filming in the Conference Green Room.

US Ambassador Tom Nides attended two nights in a row. On Monday night he was there briefly but sat with Bahrain and Israelis at the feelgood session featuring discussions on the Abraham Accords.

Charge d’affaires Ines Demiri of the Kosovo Embassy in Jerusalem spoke.

The Ambassador from Morocco told of how he had covered most of Israel since he arrived, there are so many Moroccans for him to meet.

The Ambassador from the United Arab Emirates also spoke in English to the dinner crowd, consisting of mainly American presidents and leaders of Jewish organizations.

The positive atmosphere and exchanging of business cards,

and of course selfies. Who would have imagined this two years ago when the CoP last was able to meet in Jerusalem.

They boasted of being the last conference before corona shut the borders and were proud to be the first back in Jerusalem, Israel.

But I did not hang around for dinner or the rest of the night program. While some night spots are still shuttered and dark, the Shaon Horef, Winter Noise street festival was back for the first of four Monday nights.

This colorful light projection was on Shushan Street, advertised as the main location of the event.

Though the evening was cool, thousands were out on the streets for entertainment. This year an app was available with information on times and performances.

Food and drinks were available in the area, not the most fashionable one, as you can see, but that is the idea, to bring people back to these streets.

I was back for a daytime photo to share and he wanted his photo taken.

The fashionably dressed tourists were back in Mamilla Mall.

It has been a long time since I have seen such a large busload of tourists headed to the Monastery of the Cross.

There are protest signs near the Supreme Court building,

and a protest tent near the Knesset,

but next to the Prime Minister’s official residence, it’s quiet enough just to stroll by.

Purim and days of celebration are back soon to Shushan Street.

Jerusalem Marathon signs are being posted for races at the end of March.

Even though the Omicron seems to be hitting many who have been careful for the past two years, the Jerusalem streets are filling with multilingual voices again.

A new Jerusalem photo op for tourists awaits near the Old City.

Hope to see you soon on or off the Jerusalem streets!

Jerusalem Winter Nights of Noise

Jerusalem Winter Nights of Noise

Jerusalem, Israel, winter nights are long and the temperatures are low.

Street in Jerusalem Israel with view of Mamilla Hotel in distance

The old narrow streets can be dark, cold, and quiet.

To bring people to the city streets on winter nights, a street festival שאון חורף – Shaon Horef, or Winter Noise was started over seven years ago.

Shaon Horef - Winter Noise Jerusalem Israel Monday nights in February

Shaon Horef  is held in a different location each Monday night in February.

The free cultural festival features varied and often “out of the box” entertainment.

Winter Noise street festival

On February 11, Ben Shetach and Shlomzion Streets were featured.

Each week maps and information of the approximately twenty locations are available in Hebrew, English and Arabic.

Winter Noise festival has female opera singer in a shop at night in Jerusalem

Music and bands perform in multiple locations. An opera singer was singing in this shop.

Art for sale at festival in jerusalem at night in winter

Art was on sale at a market set up along Ben Shetach Street.

Actors and crowd at Winter Noise Festival in Jerusalem

Actors in costume arrived for street performances.

Actors in Winter Noise festival in Jerusalem

At least I assumed they were entertainers, and she was not really the Iranian Ambassador from LA.

Man warming his hands at night during Jerusalem Winter Noise Festival

There were heaters to warm your hands, however, everyone was not outside in the cold.

Baking demonstration for Winter Noise Festival in Jerusalem Israel

This group who preregistered enjoyed a baking demonstration with special breads.

Winter Noise festival in Jerusalem on Ben Sira Street

I went early to get photos before the crowds came to party until the sound curfew at 11:00 pm.

Scene near Jaffa Gate at night

February 18, Shaon Horef  moved to a new location, the Old City at Jaffa Gate.

Shaon Horef Winter Noise Festival projection on Tower of David wall

The light projection on the Tower of David wall is called, ” The Tree of Life.”

It was inspired by Armenian ceramics, and the animation was by Yavin Ben Reshef.

Young couple with child watching in Old City Jerusalem for Winter Noise festival

Inside Jaffa Gate musical performances attracted visitors of all ages.

Jerusalem Israel Old City street night festival Shaon Horef Winter Noise

“Sounds from the Box” a street singer and a magical music box that plays French chansons was outside Jacob’s Pizza, near the Latin Patriarchate.

Winter Noise Festival music inside Tower of David hall Jerusalem

Inside the Tower of David, several venues were readied for multiple musical performances to last all night long. For this Shaon Horef, an after-party was to start at 11:00 pm!

Winter Noise February Monday night street festival in Old City Jerusalem

Of the unusual off the main street events were those in this museum in the Christian Quarter.

Inside Old City Museum for street festival Shaon Horef

A workshop in”slang in sign language” in Hebrew and Arabic was all set up and ready to go.

With eighteen locations on the program, there was no time to stop and sit. I went to see what was happening on the streets.

Woman performer at Shaon Horef Winter Noise Jerusalem street festival

This street performer outside the Tower of David was getting ready and trying to stay warm.

Painting for Jerusalem street festival Winter Noise near Jaffa Gate

This week everyone could be an artist and were invited to paint.

Old City Jerusalem view of Tower of David from Christian Quarter

These festivals provide an opportunity to see Jerusalem streets from different angles and perspectives. Do you recognize the entrance to the Tower of David in this photo?

jerusalem Israel Old City near Jaffa Gate two actors

Not everyone wanted their photo taken! Not really. These actors were actually inviting people get in their act and sit at their table which was set up by Jaffa Gate.

Shaon Horef in video projection on wall of Tower of David in Jerusalem Israel

Shaon Horef  was inside the walls of the Old City near Jaffa Gate.

Jerusalem Israel old city walls at night

I think the area outside is lovely to photograph any night.

I am ending with a couple of short videos, as music is an important aspect of Shaon Horef.

From week #2 at Shlomziyon HaMalka and Ben Shetach Streets.

From week #3 at Jaffa Gate, the light projection with Armenian theme.

For the last Monday in February, Shaon Horef  moves to Talpiot and HaUman Street.

Fifteen locations are on the map. Winter Noise, with an art market, loud music and entertainment, is for all those brave enough to venture out on the cold Jerusalem streets.

Winter Noise souvenir bag

I won a Facebook contest and got this Shaon Horef  bag.

I do not remember the last time I entered a contest and won anything.

I am one of thirty people who won this prize, so look for us out there on the Jerusalem streets.