Jerusalem calls to me. Jerusalem, an aesthetically pleasing city with scenic majestic views. Jerusalem, spiritually uplifting and engaging, drawing to her Jews from the four corners of the earth; Jews who yearn for her. Jerusalem the city of gold. Generations have dreamed of her, yearned for her, raised their eyes towards her. Israeli soldiers in June 1967 in the Six Day War courageously fought and died for her in order to liberate her. The battle for Jerusalem was an unplanned battle in 1967 but since Jordan aligned with her Arab neighbors, Israel had to fight desperately for Jerusalem and now Jerusalem is ours.
My Jerusalem is also Machane Yehuda on Thursday or Friday with fresh fruits and vegetables their array of colors calling to me, the aroma of fresh-baked bread, the smell of fresh fish and meat summoning me to their stands. My Jerusalem is a multi-cultural, diverse city offering religious and secular influences, like the Jerusalem Cinematheque, the Jerusalem philharmonic, museums, shops. My Jerusalem is a city where I can walk almost anywhere and feel the pride of being Jewish, being Israeli. My Jerusalem is a bustling, crowded beautiful city, a city of hope, passion, courage, meaning. A city of beautiful sunsets, lovely panoramic views. My Jerusalem is the Old City, the Kotel. My Jerusalem is a complete, undivided Jerusalem. My Jerusalem is my dream come true.
Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day 2010 was wondrous. After Ulpan, where we learned about, sang about and listened to a first hand account of the days prior to during and immediately following the war, I walked up King George Street to make my way home for a bit when I was stopped and interviewed by a Russian television crew. I was asked to tell about my feelings of Jerusalem, about whether I feel Jerusalem should remain undivided and if so, why. I offered my opinion, answered the interviewers questions, and indeed, I was on TV that night on Russian news. (Unfortunately, we missed the telecast.) We participated in the Rikud Degalim, the dancing of the flags parade. King George Street was closed, crowded with students youth from schools all over Jerusalem and all of Israel. Dancing, singing, flags waved proudly. Little children danced with their parents. Girls, boys, indeed everyone celebrated. We made our way down to Shaar Shchem (Damascus Gate) and walked with everyone through the Arab quarter down to the Kotel. Everyone was singing songs of Jerusalem while descending to the Kotel. It was crowded, noisy, amazingly exciting and exhilarating. We arrived at the Kotel and joined thousands as we sang and raised our hands in the air, cheering singing and dancing with joy. It was an incredible sight to behold. Leaving the Kotel and the Old City was difficult because of the sheer crowds of people, more than expected, more than ever participated. This year was a particularly important year for participants to come out in support of Jerusalem. The festivities on King George Street reminded me of the Israeli Day Parade that we attended every year in New York: The crowds, the flags, the singing and dancing. But the emotional descent to the Kotel, and the feelings embraced by everyone there spoke to me, reinforced the feelings for me of how important Jerusalem is to us. We’ve returned to Jerusalem. In Sefer Yoel Perek Daled, the Navi (prophet) Yoel speaks about Jerusalem saying “V’Yehuda laolam teshev; Yerushalayim L’Dor Vador.” “Yehuda (Jews..Yehudim) forever will reside, Jerusalem for every generation.”
On another note, I have been offered a job at Hadassah Har Tzofim, as a research coordinator/assistant in a pediatric cystic fibrosis department working on cystic fibrosis protocols and eventually asthma research as well. I will be working part-time for a Professor Kerem (a very bright, nice man) who fortunately really likes me. But the salary is embarrassingly low and the position is really not what I’d been hoping for, but it is a start. The hospital is close to home, sitting on Har Hatzofim (Mount Scopus) where the views are gorgeous, and I will still have some time for myself.
Shabbat will be nice with our guests, one, Yechezkel’s friend, his night chavruta from Yeshivat Hakotel, and one, Ariel Sobin.
I hope you all enjoyed a meaningful, special Yom Yerushalayim. Shabbat Shalom and love to all. Pictures to follow next week.