Jerusalem 2021 New Year, New Beginnings

As 2021 begins, Israel has a population of 9.3 million. Already over one million Israelis have received vaccinations, while the number of those ill with COVID-19 keeps rising over 6,000 daily.

Sun set in Jerusalem Tower of David viewed from Jaffa Gate

For the third corona lockdown, traffic was heavy as the sun was setting.

Mamilla Mall was closing down with people doing last-minute errands.

The full moon was bright over the plaza inside Jaffa Gate.

Main streets usually filled with vehicles were quieting down.

Lights and holiday decorations were shown brightly at Kikar Safra, Jerusalem’s Municipal City Hall.

However, only blue decorative lights were on over Yoel Salomon Street.

The popular tourist areas again, or still, were closed to the public.

Jaffa Gate was shut again as in the previous coronavirus lockdowns.

Jerusalem’s Old City was one area where the lockdown was visibly enforced. IDs were checked, movement of more than half a mile from home was not allowed. Over 9,000 fines have been issued by Israeli police.

Inside Jaffa Gate, businesses were shuttered. The Post Office was open, but for a change, there was no line of people outside waiting to enter.

Construction work has proceeded apace during the entire time of the coronavirus restrictions. This man would not let me take his photo, but I was more interested in showing how those safety surfaces are crafted.

The Kotel, Western Wall Plaza, had more birds than people.

The divisions for limited prayer groups were intact, but there were no worshipers to be found in most of the sections.

Ah, but even on the most limited days, there was at least one selfie taken.

From the Old City, I decided to walk home by way of Jaffa Road.

The few shops that had been open the night before were now closed.

Street decorations were colorful, but with no one to appreciate them.

Finally, I got a photo of the large duck on Ben Yehudah Street without people in my way. Sadly the businesses in this popular tourist area was hit again hard by the lockdown.

I was not the only photographer out looking for lockdown scenes.

A woman was dropping off items for someone in one of the Jerusalem quarantine hotels where returning Israelis were required to stay.

It was reported 8,000 Israelis traveled to Dubai for the holiday weekend, escaping Israeli lockdown limitations.

Last week UAE guests were at the King David Hotel, and this week United States flags flew over as the Moroccan normalization negotiations proceeded.

At times it seemed as if there was no lockdown, traffic was moving along.

But at Takhana HaRishona, First Station, those clever plastic igloos were mostly empty, as take out food service is not allowed and restaurants closed.

One man found a warm and quiet location for his standing computer work desk at First Station in the midday sun.

With home food delivery allowed, motorcycles have been zooming around the Jerusalem streets, much more than in the past.

Small business owners had time to take end of year inventory, with no customers allowed, uninterrupted once again.

There was a big open sign, but even Aroma Express in Mamilla Mall was closed. No people. No reason to open.

The Teddy Park across from Mamilla has also been empty for days.

But, Thursday afternoon, Machane Yehudah Market, the shuk, looked alive.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Friday-COVID-Old-City-093-2-1024x712.jpg

Returning to the Old City on Friday, one could see and feel the lockdown.

Imagine having the opportunity to power wash the steps normally filled with people on Fridays.

Here is the food court in the Jewish Quarter without customers,

the entrance to the Kotel, without a line waiting to go thru security,

and no traffic at Sha’ar Ashpot, Dung Gate, near the Kotel entrance.

Photo credit: ADI

Vaccinations have been going at a rapid pace. ADI, formerly ALEH, inoculated 1,500 people in two days, and in a party atmosphere. Their residential students with severe challenges were some of the most vulnerable in the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Taking your dog for a walk has been allowed in all the lockdowns.

More and more people are out enjoying the pleasant weather and walking in the sunshine, with and without masks.

The signs above the Jerusalem streets advise for safety at home.

The Jerusalem streets give safety and health advice.

However, in many families there is still a revolving door situation with one family member or another in bidud, isolation.

Not just Bubby and Zayde (grandparents) in bidud.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, MDA teams have sampled more than 3,500,000 people.

Photo credit: A Y Altshul

With efficient testing and vaccinations, most Israelis are anxiously waiting for the revolving door situation to end.

The hope is in 2021, the beginning of the end of the coronavirus is in sight, this the last lockdown, and new light at the end of a year-long dark tunnel.

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

Shabbat Shalom

Jerusalem, Israel, winter nights are cold, but some sites are as photo worthy as by day.

View from Teddy Park of lights on Jerusalem Israel Old City Walls at night for Shabbat shalom post

On the way home from the Jerusalem Winner Marathon launch, I passed through Teddy Park to Mitchell Park to see the new ice skating rink.  This was the view. The Teddy Park fountain is not nearly as popular in winter as on hot summer days when it is filled with people, but still worth pausing to appreciate.

שבת שלום

Jerusalem: Looking Forward 2019

Jerusalem: Looking Forward 2019

At the end of December, with each calendar year, many ‘best’ and ‘worst’ lists are published.

After spending considerable time thinking about it, in the end, I decided to let 2018 just slip away.

As the sun set on December 31, 2018, the skies over Jerusalem, Israel, were a blaze of color.

sunset

Walking home, I could tell it was going to be dramatic end for 2018, and was not disappointed.

The red horizon  popped with color on numerous photos I saw posted on Facebook.

Jerusalem Israel flowers

January not only has red sunsets popping with color, but purple flowers lining so many streets.

Yemin Moshe as seen leaving Zion Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

January skies can be blue one minute,

Walls of Old City grey sky Jerusalem Israel

but then turn around a few minutes later to become grey and threatening.

Jerusalem Christmas decorations

With the Christian Orthodox Christmas still to be celebrated in January, holiday decorations still line the streets inside the Old City; these are near Jaffa Gate.

Woman in white bridal gown in Rova

This young woman dressed in a white bridal gown attracted a second glance.

Tourist groups filling Rova in Old City Jerusalem Israel

A record numbers of tourists arrived in Israel in 2018. The plaza in front of the Hurva Synagogue was full with hundreds of tours, large and small.

German couple in Old City Jerusalem Israel

I met this couple from Germany who stopped to look out from the Old City.

Jewish boys on sports court in Old City Jerusalem Israel

The sounds of these school boys at play below got our attention.

School children having lunch near 4 synagogues in Jerusalem Old City

The numerous tour groups included school children; these first graders came from Pardes Chana for the day.

Jerusalem four synagogues in Old City

They stopped for a lunch break near the Four Sephardic Synagogues in the Jewish Quarter.

When Jordanian Legion captured and occupied the Old City in 1948, all the Jewish residents were forced out.

Then Jordan proceeded to take over all Jewish property, and destroyed or occupied all of the synagogues.

The Four Sephardic Synagogues established centuries earlier were restored after 1967, and put back to use as Jewish houses of prayer.

From 1977, only an arch stood, where the rebuilt Hurva Synagogue, dedicated May 15, 2011, stands today.

Synagogue in Old City left destroyed by Jordanians in 1948 תפארת ישראל

Tiferet Israel was the only remaining destroyed synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem, as seen in this 2010 photograph.

Jordanian Legionnaire on rubble of destroyed Synagogue in Old City Jerusalem 1948

A Jordanian soldier stands on the Tiferet Israel ruins in this 1948 photo by Chalil Rissas, which was part of the Tower of David photography exhibit.

Wall of destroyed Tiferet Israel synagogue beginning repair

On January 1, 2019, this is how the outside wall of Tiferet Israel looked.

Inside Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue as rebuilding begins

Inside a construction crew was busy working on its reconstruction and restoration.

Jerusalem Israel synagogue Karaite

Tiferet Israel is across from the Karaite Synagogue, one of the oldest in the world.

Street off Rova where Tiferet Israel Synagogue is being rebuilt

For those who have walked the streets of the Old City, Tiferet Israel will rise above the “main street” which leads to the Western Wall, the Kotel, from the Rova, the Jewish Quarter Plaza.

Or maybe easier to visualize, it is next to a better known landmark, the shwarma place.

Photo of Tiferet Israel synagogue in future

The project to rebuild and replace the synagogue destroyed on May 21, 1948 is finally underway.

steps down to Tiferet Yisrael synagogue

The laying of cornerstone of the new old Tiferet Israel took place on December 31, 2018.

Hopefully it will not take 10 years to complete as did the Hurva rebuilding.

View from Citadel Hotel to Mamilla across the road. Jerusalem Israel

Hope you enjoyed this quick stroll through a few favorite Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Teddy Park Jerusalem Israel

I will conclude with this bit of Teddy Park I passed on way my way home.

Most people today do not realize, all of this was either under Jordanian rule or in No Man’s Land from 1948-1967.

Mount of Olives Cemetery from Old City near Zion Gate

Jerusalem, Israel, with its ancient sites, and always with something new.

As the pretty  purple flowers bloom, we look forward to 2019.