It was another roller-coaster week on the Jerusalem streets.
The sounds of children playing and birds chirping resonated from the Jerusalem parks as one walked by on the spring-like Shabbat morning.
It was only at night, after Shabbat ended, that we heard the devastating news of death and terror not so far away from our tranquil neighborhood.
However, I have decided to focus on what you did not hear about, not the “conflict” which garners international media attention, but what’s new.
My week started at the Kotel, Western Wall, where as usual, various groups of people of all ages from around the world were gathered.
One Jerusalem scene was perfect for black and white.
This colorful group of international Lutheran clergy was entering the Old City by Jaffa Gate to attend the ordination of the first Arab woman. Notice the international media reported that it took place in Jerusalem, with no mention of Israel?
Media reports called her a “Palestinian,” but did not note how the numbers of Christians in the Palestinian-controlled territories have plummeted under PA rule, whereas they have increased in Israel.
Work on the Tower of David is still not completed.
Some of the Old City streets were still quiet in the morning hours though the tourists are noticeable back on the Jerusalem streets.
The work on the restoration of the Tiferet Israel Synagogue is covered up but rises tall above the street in the Jewish Quarter. The construction to replace the structure that was destroyed by the Jordanian Legions in 1948 has taken years to complete.
Here is a reminder of how it looked for decades before work began.
Finally, the work on the Kotel Plaza elevator was underway. Those steps never were convenient for disabled individuals or strollers, or anyone.
The Kotel Plaza is being dug up (again) for new infrastructure work.
This is how the work looks from above in the Western Wall Heritage Center.
The work beneath the new Center building is not completed but is still an impressive look back centuries in time.
We were on our way to hear from the Rabbi of the Western Wall RabbiShmuel Rabinovitch. He gives his interviews in Hebrew and has them translated into English.
However, outside another famous rabbi not usually in the area was spotted. Rav Reuven Feinstein was leaving with a group as we arrived.
Also impressive is the newly enclosed Kotel Plaza area for women to pray quietly away from the elements. I have been watching the space for years and wondering what they were doing.
But the main part of this visit was to see what was new under the Plaza.
Remember that I reported on a tour of Hanukkah 2021, that this area was not open to the public. Well, now it is, though excavation work is not ever complete, there is always something new to find going down.
Here’s a short video – with 4,000 years condensed into under 4 minutes.
It is not easy to condense so much history in a sound bite.
Sharing a few new images of the ancient space under the Kotel Plaza,
on the new Western Wall Heritage Great Bridge Tour.
The ancient amphitheater that was never completed is now exposed.
The tour ends with the model of the Second Temple and the view of the Wall’s large stones under street level in the distance.
One photo of the new synagogue at the Western Wall, but there was so much more at the Kotel perhaps for another time.
Hard to miss it, Gan Sacher, Sacher Park is getting a big makeover.