Shalom and Welcome to this week’s In Israel Blog
Last week was Lag B’Omer – the day itself is closely tied with both Jewish mysticism and revolt against the Romans. However, the origins are largely unknown to the huge number of people who celebrate it with large bonfires. For weeks children have been carefully collecting, hoarding and protecting wood just to see it go up in smoke! In Tel Aviv the municipal authorities even offered a deluxe fully prearranged event complete with rugs, baked potatoes and your personal fire attendant. It was priced at a few 10s of shekalim per family on the assumption that you had 40 or so families taking part.
This is a busy season with many significant dates squeezed in to the (just under) two month period from Pesach to Shavuot (Feast of Weeks). Later this week we will celebrate Jerusalem Day marking the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War. There will be many visitors to Jerusalem and many a prayer of thanks will be offered in Jerusalem, in Israel and indeed around the world.
Several Israeli museums took part in the recent International Museum Day events. Israel Inside Out took the opportunity to visit the newly refurbished Israel Museum. If you have never been then now is the time, and if you have been in the past then it is so much better that it both cases should be high on your list for your next visit to Jerusalem.
There have been some excellent events in Jerusalem over the last couple of weeks – some of them focused on neighborhoods such as the Aza Street Festival and the Emek Refaim Street Entertainment Event. There was also the grand opening performance of the Israel Festival– a very cool Australian acrobatic trio – Strange Fruits gave an amazing performance on top of bendy street light poles in Zion Square and there was also a gala performance of the Israel Ballet with guest soloists from the Bolshoi. You can see video of Strange Fruits in our full report.
This week on Thursday there will be a huge concert in Gan Sacher featuring many local artists to celebrate Jerusalem Day. On Thursday and Monday next week the Jerusalem Opera Festival will take place including a performance of Verdi’s Jerusalem opera at the magical location of Sultan’s Pool by the Old City Ramparts. Next month will see the Third Jerusalem Festival of Light – where the streets and walls of the Old City are magically transformed and light is used both to illuminate but also as a creative medium – it should be very special.
This week’s recommendations will all be based around Jerusalem in honor of Jerusalem Day. Any trip should include some time in the Old City, there are many great places to visit, our recommendation is the Roof Top Walk – one of the best and most fascinating places to understand Jerusalem. Outside the Old City then we recommend the panoramic Skyline Views of Jerusalem – for their views and for their history. After visiting then we recommend stopping for refreshments and enjoying that special Jerusalem air and spirit.
Finally, we welcome a recent initiative by the Ministry of the Environment to grade Israel’s beaches. The grade will be upgraded every two weeks during the season and is based on a variety of parameters such as cleanliness, showers, parking, disabled access and shade; the highest rated beaches at the start of the season are Tzuk Beach in Tel Aviv, the beach for the disabled in Herzliya, Shavei Zion Beach, the Herzl Beach in Netanya and the Dado Beach in Haifa.
Le’Hitraot from Jerusalem