What better time to launch The Jerusalem Insider’s Guide News than to coincide with Israel’s Independence Day?

In this, our first issue, we’ll have a look a Independence Day celebrations in Jerusalem as well as update you on plans for the papal visit to Israel by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Jerusalem Insider’s Guide News: Contents for Issue #1

  • Welcome!
  • Yom Ha’atzma’ut – Independence Day
  • The Papal Visit
  • What's New on the Jerusalem Insider's Guide website
  • Jerusalem and Israel News from Around the Web

    Welcome to our first issue of The Jerusalem Insider’s Guide News – we hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as we’re enjoying bringing you news of Jerusalem and the Holy Land!

    Israel Independence Day

    Yom Ha’aztma’ut – Israel Independence Day falls on April 29, 2009, this year. The date on the Hebrew calendar is the 5th of Iyar. Jerusalem will be celebrating with a slew of free cultural events throughout the city, culminating in fireworks around town.

    If dancing in the streets is your thing, then it’s your night!

    At Kikar Safra, in front of the municipality building, the Israel Defense Forces Military Band will be performing a program of traditional Israeli music until 11:30 p.m, followed by Israeli folk dancing until 3:30 a.m.

    On Hillel Street and in front of the Hamashbir department store at the top of Ben Yehuda Street, there will be live concerts and/or DJs providing the music for several street dance parties. The celebrations begin at 9 p.m and continue to 3:30 a.m.

    There will be fireworks in many neighborhoods starting between 9:30 – 10:00 p.m. Two of the best places to watch them from: near Yad Vashem/ Har Herzl (we recommend the roof of the Bayit Vegan Youth Hostel), or, if you are closer to the center of town, at the Sheraton Plaza, at 10:00 p.m. and again at midnight.

    Happy Birthday, Israel!

    Memorial Day

    Israel Independence Day is preceded by Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day), this year on April 28, 2009. Yom Hazikaron commemorates our fallen soldiers. In a place where almost everyone has lost a friend or family member in the service of their country, this is a somber day indeed. Some places of business may be closed. The radio plays somber music. You will hear the sirens wail on Monday evening, and then again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, signaling a moment of silence in memory of our fallen soldiers. It is customary for people to stand silently during the siren – don’t be surprised if the bus you’re riding on when the siren goes off pulls over so the driver and passengers can stand.

    If you’re going to be touring on Yom Hazikaron, don’t plan any visit to Har Herzl or Yad Vashem on that day as these will be closed for official ceremonies for government officials and family members of fallen soldiers.

    The Papal Visit

    Pope Benedict XVI is planning a visit to the Holy Land. He will be arriving on Monday, May 11th, following a three day visit to Jordan, and staying until Friday, May 15th. If you want to follow his itinerary, you can read up on the sites he will be visiting on our website:

    May 11: Yad Vashem
    May 12: The Temple Mount, the Western Wall, Mount Zion.
    May 15: The Church of the Holy Sepulcher

    (May 13 and 14, the pope will be visiting Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem, and Nazareth, in the Galilee.)

    What’s New This Month at the Jerusalem Insider’s Guide website

    Transportation Guide – getting around Jerusalem by bus, taxi or private car.

    Where to Stay – Historical Hotels: our re-vamped series on Jerusalem hotels that are also fascinating historical landmarks.

    Jerusalem and Israel News from Around the Web

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    Blessings from Jerusalem!

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