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Thursday, May 17, 2012


I first came to Israel when I was 18 years old, a few years after the 1967  6 Day War during  which Jerusalem was  returned to the Jewish people.
When I arrived Jerusalem was already reunited, we had easy access to the Kotel and it was hard for me to imagine a Jerusalem that was split in two with no access for the Jewish people to their most sacred site.
As with most things which are handed to us on a plate, most of my generation and our children and grandchildren  take this  for granted.
But on a day like Jerusalem Day,  which this year is Sunday  May 20th,  we watch and listen to stories of that miraculous day, when against  all normal odds we captured back the last remnant of our holy Temple built 3000 years ago.
What the Kotel means to everyone
Jerusalem is an intriguing mix of the ancient and holy together with the everyday and modern.
People from all over the world come to place their prayers and wishes between the cracks in the stones of the Kotel. These are all eventually removed and buried.
Jerusalem  prayers and wishes between the kotel stones Ann Goldberg
The alleyways in the Old City
Jerusalem  Old City Ann Goldberg
The model of Jerusalem as it was when the Temple stood which is now on the campus of  the Israel Museum
Temple Model Israel Museum
The Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls
Israel Museum Shrine of the Book Ann Goldberg

The new ultra-sleek ultra-modern light rail

The new Mamilla Mall near Jaffa Gate at entrance to the Old City
Jerusalem Mamilla mall
And on Jerusalem Day in particular we thank G’d for bringing us back home and allowing us to live in HIs holy city

The Chief Chazan (Cantor) of the Israel Defense Forces singing the Prayer for the State of Israel  which is recited in most synagogues all over the world  every Shabbat.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Today, is the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, Lag Ba’Omer.

If you’d like to know more about Lag Ba’Omer read some of these essays and articles.
Here in Israel it’s what the British would call Bonfire Night. The articles mentioned above will explain why, but all over the country children set up bonfires in some of the most ridiculous places and the authorities just look on and smile.

Later on when they are lit at night the municipalities  send fire engines driving around all the neighborhoods to keep an eye on things and check that none of the bonfires get out of control.

Is this the kind of thing that goes on where you live?

My American relation who was with us as we wandered around admiring the local bonfires couldn’t believe her eyes.
“ Do you know what would happen to someone in the US who decided to light a bonfire on the sidewalk along the main road ????”

Although the children have been collecting wood and ‘anything else’ they can find, for the last month, when it comes to lighting the bonfires parents are on hand and the whole family  and neighborhood come out to enjoy the festivities

darkness falls –time to light
Lag BA'Omer darkness falls time to light
it’s off
Lag Ba'Omer - it's off

the children enjoy the bonfire from a safe distance under parental supervision
Lag Ba'Omer the children enjoy the bonfirel from a safe distance

dancing and singing the traditional songs

This is just the ‘local’ fun – the real celebrations are on a mountain in the north of Israel – Meron - where hundreds of thousands gather for the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.