Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Israel 2016 - Jerusalem, Day 4 Kotel Bar Mitzvah 2

They approach the Kotel plaza as boys and they leave as young men who have participated in a ritual of thousands of years - pledged to carry forward the flame of Torah and the traditions of the Jewish people.






Sunday, July 24, 2016

Israel 2016 - Jerusalem, Day 4 Kotel Bar Mitzvah 1

There were dozens of bar mitzvahs happening that day. Here's group 1:






Saturday, July 23, 2016

Israel 2016 - Jerusalem, Day 4 Part 1 - Western Wall

I took a day off from walking around Jerusalem to drive up to the biblical city of Tsfat in the Galilee. The place is steeped in the tradition of Jewish mysticism. Last year when I was there I found a weaver's studio that made beautiful tallesim, but I thought they were too expensive for me. From the next day for more than a year I regretted not getting one. Went to the website often to look at the selection and vowed that the next opportunity I had I would go again and purchase one. I had selected a couple of styles that I wanted to see and feel. I looked at them and wore them in the gallery, but there was one in particular that I hadn't considered that just cried out to me. I tried it on and was immediately sold on it. Of course it was the most expensive one in the gallery. But no matter. When I tell people about the experience, I say that I can't take the money to the grave with me, but I can take the tallis (it's traditional for Jewish men to be buried in their tallis). I couldn't take the tallis with me because it had to be custom woven and embroidered with my hebrew name. But now that I have it, I'm so pleased that I splurged on it.

The next day in Jerusalem was Thursday. That's a special day at the Kotel in the Old City because it's one of the days that the Torah is read, and many boys come with their families to the Wall to have their bar mitzvah. I'd had the chance on the previous Monday to take some shots of boys reading the Torah, but that was just a rehearsal for this day. My next post will be of those shots. But there were many other people at the Wall, including many IDF soldiers.









Friday, July 22, 2016

Israel 2016 - Jerusalem, Day 2 Part 4 -Jaffa Road

Jaffa Road is a main thoroughfare through Jerusalem on which the light rail travels. I didn't have any time to ride the light rail, that's on the list for the next trip. But Jaffa road is a main commercial street for all kinds of stores and food stalls. Because the light rail is a favorite target for the crazy Palestinians who think that targeting passengers will hasten the relief of their self inflicted troubles, the route is protected with surveillance cameras, IDF personnel, and uniformed and undercover police.





Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Israel 2016 - Jerusalem, Day 2 Part 3 - Kiki HaShabbat

The intersection Jerusalemites  call Kiki HaSHabbat is at the meeting point of four neighborhoods: Kerem Avraham, Geula, Mea Shearim, and Zichron Moshe. Each area has its own distinct character and denizen. I had only a morning to explore the neighborhoods, but next time I'll plan to spend days there. At the intersection and streets leading from it are banks, groceries, clothing stores, and religious bookstores. The mix of people on the streets makes for some interesting juxtapositions.





Friday, July 15, 2016

Israel 2016 - Jerusalem, Day 2, part 2

Ben Yehudah Street is a pedestrian mall through the heart of the commercial district stretching from Jaffa Road up to King George Street. Some touristy shops and lots of food stalls, and a great collection of Israelis.





Thursday, July 14, 2016

Israel 2016 - Jerusalem, Day 2, part 1

I wish I had more time to roam while I was in Jerusalem. There's a whole world to explore just on the buses and light rail - all kinds of people: sephardic, hared ashkenazi, secular, arabs, tourists. On my second day in Jerusalem I wanted to go to an intersection called Kiki HaShabbat. It's a place where four very different neighborhoods come together. From my hotel I took a bus to the intersection and got a really interesting taste of the cross-section of the Jerusalem population.