Category Archives: Photo travel story

Jerusalem Reunification Day

Today we celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem. Today, 48 years ago , the barriers of Jerusalem came down and once again all religions of the world could come to  pray at the sites that are sacred to them.

The Kotel HaMaaravi - the Western Wall only remaining wall of the Temple
The Kotel HaMa’aravi – the Western Wall, the   remaining wall of the Temple

We  were allowed access at along last to the Kotel HaMa’aravi, the Western Wall, the remaining wall of the Temple and the most sacred place to Jews everywhere. It’s the place we face when praying wherever in the world we are and our prayers for thousands of years have expressed our longing to return here. In 1967, thank G’d,  we did at least return to this wall.

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People  write their prayers and wishes and insert the pieces of paper into the Wall’s crevices. Once a month the notes are removed and buried to  make room for more.

The newly renovated Hurva Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem
The newly renovated Hurva Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem

When Jerusalem was first accessed all that remained of this ancient synagogue was the famous arch – but during the ensuing years many plans were put forward to rebuild it. Eventually in the beginning of this century the building started and in 2010 it was rededicated.

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Yad Vashem -a  cattle truck which took Jews to concentration camps

Remembering our history is an important part of our life and memorials to the many attempts to annihilate us can be found all over the country. The largest memorial to the Holocaust in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

Memorial to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York
Memorial to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York

But we never forget the horrors that others have also lived through and Israel was the first country ( and perhaps still the only one) to memorialize the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11.

But today Jerusalem is also a thriving modern city which attracts tourists and pilgrims from all over the world and of every religion. They enjoy the modern conveniences of 21st century life coupled with the ancient, sacred memories of the past. The parks, hotels, gardens, museums, shops and markets are but minutes away from King David’s City and the reamins of the  Temple and to those of us who are privileged to call this city our home each part is just as alive and relevant to us today.

King Hezekiah's Tunnel
King Hezekiah’s Tunnel

 

fountain in Paris Square by the Prima Kings Hotel
Fountain in Paris Square by the Prima Kings Hotel
Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
Machane Yehuda market
Machane Yehuda market
busking in Jaffa Road
busking in Jaffa Road
Mamilla-Mall-dining-with-a-view
Mamilla-Mall dining with a view
The light rail
The light rail
The Montefiore Windmill in Mishkenot Shaananim
The Montefiore Windmill in Mishkenot Sha’ananim
Israel-Museum-Shrine-of-the-Book-Ann-Goldberg.jpg
Israel Museum-Shrine of the Book
Kever Shmuel HaNavi the tomb of Samuel the prophet outside Ramot, Jerusalem
Kever Shmuel HaNavi the tomb of Samuel the prophet outside Ramot, Jerusalem

The Prophet Samuel’s yahrzeit ( anniversary of his death) is also on Jerusalem Reunification Day. Thousands visit his tomb today on a hillside a few minutes from my home in Ramot .

The Waldorf Astoria and me

Jerusalem Waldorf Astoria
The Walforf Astoria, Jerusalem

I have to admit it- I never imagined I’d ever have breakfast a the Waldorf Astoria.
But that was before they opened up the Jeruslaem branch.

Well, as an Israel travel writer I had to visit it didn’t I? I mean it would have been remiss of me not to?

In many ways it is just like every  Waldorf Astoria. The same ( well, at least similar) iconic clock. (In case you’re wondering how I know about all the others – it’ s only through internet searches.)

the clock at the Waldorf Astoria, Jerusalem
The Waldorf Astoria clock.

The same  luxurious classic furniture. Armchairs and couches to sink into, gentle lighting, elegant, striking flower arrangements.

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem lobby flower arrangements.
Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem lobby flower arrangements.

Even the traditional top-hatted doorman is there . Although it was odd to hear him speaking Hebrew.

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem doorman
Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem doorman

One difference between the Jerusalem hotel and the others is that it has a Mehadrin hechsher (kashrus certificate) and the  restaurant on one side of the lobby serves only dairy food, while the one on the other side serves only meat meals.  And the section in the middle, I was told, is not  served food.

Which makes it a great place to go on a shidduch – when you want to be left alone to get to know your prospective spouse without being interrupted all the time and asked what you want to order.

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So now we know why the Waldorf Astoria came to Jerusalem – to play its role in match-making. Mothers will no doubt be thrilled when their daughter comes home and says she was taken to the Waldorf Astoria by her date .