Jerusalem in Our Hearts – the Celebrations Continue

The opening ceremony of the Jerusalem at 50 celebrations was probably one of the most uplifting events I have ever been to but luckily some of the magic from that night continues with the “Jerusalem in Our Hearts – Sound and Light Show” that is taking place to celebrate 50 years of United Jerusalem – ending July 25.

Click here for a full post about the Jerusalem at 50 opening show, including my first vlog.

The beautifully choreographed show is projected onto the outside walls of the Old City, between Jaffa Gate and Kikar Tsahal (towards New Gate) and includes spectacular graphics depicting the story of the Old City of Jerusalem over the centuries, interspersed with video clips of some of the music performances from the opening ceremony, including Sarit Hadad, Avraham Tal, Ben Snof, Idan Amedi and Amir Benayoun (the links are to songs by each artist, some from the opening ceremony)

The show starts at 8.15, 9 and 10 pm every weeknight (not Friday or Shabbat) and lasts for about 35 minutes. It is free of charge and does not require tickets, but make sure you get there on time as the beginning is the most impressive part.  Very limited information in Hebrew can be found here, www.unitedjerusalem50.com (ignore the times on the website – the first show is at 8.15 not 8 pm) but you have all the information here and I am happy to answer questions if you comment below.

I highly recommend going to see it sooner rather than later, it was so good, I want to go again!

Here is a video montage of the opening celebrations from the production company.

Celebrating Jerusalem 50

I am asked on a regular basis why I choose to live in Jerusalem, rather than the more cosmopolitan Tel Aviv.  There are many reasons for my love of Jerusalem and living in proximity to the Old City and thousands of years of Jewish history is one of them.  So often I drive past the Old City walls as part of my day-to-day life and I force myself to pause for a moment and appreciate how lucky I am.

So celebrating 50 years of united Jerusalem on “Yom Yerushaliyim” (Jerusalem Day) is particularly meaningful and despite the disruption to the proceedings caused by Trump’s visit to the city, the opening ceremony was truly spectacular and I couldnt resist trying to capture some of the magic in the video and photos below.

I am not a vlogger and this was my first attempt at editing video clips together, so please excuse the poor quality and the top of people’s heads!

The new sound and light show will continue to be shown on the Old City walls between Jaffa Gate and Kikar Tsahal (towards New Gate) until July 17 (50 days to celebrate 50 years).  UPDATE – extended to July 25 Read more about it here.

Rooftop with a view

Even though I have mentioned the Rooftop restaurant of the Mamilla Hotel briefly in a few earlier posts, after a recent visit, I have decided it deserves its own dedicated post.  I am often asked for recommendations for the best place to eat in Jerusalem and the answer depends on what the person is looking for.  But the truth is, if you are visiting the Holy City and only have time for one good meal, without any hesitation, I would recommend dinner at the Rooftop.

With unbeatable views of the western side of the Old City, the Rooftop is open throughout the year with plenty of space heaters to counteract the cool summer evening breezes and in the winter they close it in. Even if you are not looking for a full meal, the bar at the front of the restaurant is a great place for a date or drinks with friends.

Not only are the views spectacular, the setting is serene and spacious and the service is usually very attentive (unfortunately the Mamilla Hotel does not have a reputation for good service, especially in Mamilla Café!)

Courtesy of Mamilla Hotel

There is not a huge amount of choice on the menu but what they do have, is very good.  We started by sharing the Lamb Focaccia with tahina, roasted tomato and chilli (54₪) which is made fresh in the Taboon oven near the bar.  The portion is generous and although it is filling, it is a great dish for sharing.  We also shared the Foie Gras on toasted brioche with a sweet tomato confit (68₪) and Veal Sweetbreads with creamed eggplant, forest mushrooms and port sauce (54₪).  Both dishes are very rich in price and flavor but if you like this type of food, they are worth ordering.  The difference in texture between the sweetbreads and forest mushrooms is a perfect combination and the flavors of the sauce and creamed eggplant compliments it well.  The warm foie gras (goose liver) was a generous portion for the price and was well cooked with ideal accompaniments.  My only criticism here, as with many restaurants which serve foie gras, is that there was not enough toast or confit to go with it.

Courtesy of Mamilla Hotel

For main course, two of us ordered the Grilled Entrecote with garlic confit served with roasted potatoes (136₪) and the third had Roasted Spring Chicken in homemade spice mix with apricots & dates served on a bed of mixed rice (82₪).  As per the chef’s recommendation, we both ordered the steak ‘medium well’ even though we normally have a preference for rare meat.  Unlike Sirloin or Fillet, Entrecote (Rib-Eye) needs to be cooked longer to ensure it is tender and not too fatty.  My companion’s steak was perfect, crispy on the outside and slightly pink in the middle but mine was well done which for me is too dry but it was still delicious – if you like your steak tender, request medium.

Recent changes in the menu means there is no longer a choice of side dish, it comes as described on the menu and there is no option to change that.  I would have preferred some healthy greens or going all out and having mashed potato but the roasted potatoes were still nice.

We accompanied the meal with some delicious Bravdo Cabernet Sauvignon recommended by the wine waiter and the best red wine that they have by the glass (56₪).

We finished off the meal with Almond Sachlav with coffee truffle (42₪) which is not too heavy but a great way to end on a sweet note!

In my opinion, they serve the best kosher entrecote in the Holy City!