Oh what a different year this is in Jerusalem!
Jerusalem, Israel was the destination for millions of visitors for the autumn holiday season. The streets were filled with rental cars and excited tourists.
This year due to the coronavirus restrictions, the Kotel, Western Wall Plaza is mostly deserted, day and night time.
The area inside the Wilson’s Arch is closed again.
For Yom Kippur most synagogues were closed.
Some synagogues made use of their outdoor spaces with tents.
Pop-up street services were held by small groups of neighbors coming together. Doing the best they could manage with cars, cyclists, children on noisy scooters, and dog walkers coming through the random plastic chairs spread around.
- The sounds of prayers filled the Jerusalem streets.
In spite of COVID-19 restrictions, hundreds of cars noisily made their way to Jerusalem and to the Knesset after Yom Kippur.
After months of loud late night disturbances in Jerusalem, the black shirts were again on their way in the morning to the Knesset.
Loud, some profane, some with young children, they paraded and screamed in the midday sun. The over the top display could still be heard when after midnight the Knesset voted to limit the protesters numbers and locations to one kilometer from home. Rules the rest of the country we’re supposed to follow.
The protesters are getting more than their share of headlines and filling news feeds. COVID-19 pandemic is a global problem, the deaths tragic.
I have decided to share good things happening you might have missed.
2. The weather has cooled, colorful clouds cover the Knesset at sunset.
That bit of red is a postal truck, nice to know the mail has not stopped moving during the latest set of lockdown restrictions.
The big crane on the left is for the new National Library under construction.
3. Building has continued all these months of pandemic.
I am fascinated by the work on the library roof structure. One day in the future I will share the progress with you.
4. The Harvest Moon was shining bright.
Mars was too far away to get a good photo of both together. However, a Blue Moon is due to appear the end of the month. Another chance.
5. Israeli Start-Up Nation was on the front line of the Giro d’Italia.
In the international bike race, Maglia Azzurra, King of the Mountains, was Rick Zabel representing Israel in the blue uniform.
6. There are quiet spots to meet and keep your distance in Jerusalem.
Hotels are closed again with the new COVID-19 restrictions. A few had opened partially over the summer for Israeli guests.
7. Lights were visible at night at the Crowne Plaza.
The hotel had been dark every night, closed since March. Presently, United Hatzalah workers are based in the conveniently located hotel.
8. Mayor Moshe Lion said keeping Jerusalem clean is a priority.
The Jerusalem Municipality clean up trucks have become a regular sight on the Jerusalem streets. The days of furnishing your apartment with cast-offs off the street are over unless you are very quick before a truck arrives.
9. Three Machane Yehudah Market, shuk, streets got names and signs, “Ha-Tut” or “Strawberry” Street was one.
Another was “Arbaat Haminim” or “Four Species” Street. The sign over a nearly deserted street which would have been packed with shoppers any other year before the Sukkot holiday.
Thousands of careful shoppers would have come to select their etrog and luluv and greens for their four-holiday species as in this old photo. This year the small kiosks on Jerusalem streets in various neighborhoods filled the void.
The Kotel, Western Wall would be packed with tens of thousands of people for the Sukkot holiday in the past.
Not this year. Numbers are extremely limited and distanced.
The huge Birkat Kohanim – Priestly Blessing did not happen this year.
A lone kohen did the blessing on the second day of Sukkot.
On Monday, October 5, the corona style Birkat Kohanim was recorded and put on YouTube for all to have a front-row view. HERE
10. With the impending corona restrictions, many sukkot were put up early, before Yom Kippur instead of after or last minute.
On roof tops,
and on porches,
and even our open-air sukkah for two instead of twenty was ready early.
11. Imagine, a sukkah in Dubai ready for kosher meals!
12. A sign of normal in crazy times! Cut palm branches tied to top of a car to take home for the sukkah.
This will be the year a small porch sukkah is “in” in Jerusalem.
With fabric walls up on a porch,
or tucked away in the garden.
Last year President Rivlin was surrounded by crowds of visitors for the annual Open Sukkah at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.
Two years ago he invited the public to the presidential sukkah that had a health theme at a press conference before Sukkot.
13. President Rivlin’s last open house as President will be virtual.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020, between 10:00 and 12:30 Israeli time – join in www.sukkot-president-science.co.il
No need to put on shoes, stand in a long line in the hot sun to enter, or even leave your house to attend this year.
No big public Sukkot public events in parks are to be held this year.
15. However, this mobile sukkah is to be out on our Jerusalem street.
The sound and light shows will not have hundreds of people each night.
I couldn’t decide which to share, so here are two segments from shows:
16. City of David Sound and Light Show Finale
17. Tower of David Museum Night Show on King David
18. Such clever work by talented friends Jessica and Yael!