The view from my veranda

Jerusalem Day

29th May 2022

28th Iyar,5782

Happy Jerusalem Day!

Today commemorates that joyous moment of the 6 Day War, when Lt General Motta, (Mordechai) Gur, uttered the magical words “The Temple Mount is in our hands”  Har ha habyit by’adenu. Dreams, nay yearning, of 2,000 years came true, we could finally visit our holy places. Which had been in Moslem hands…….. but wait…..What’s wrong with what I just wrote? It was after just 19 years of Jordanian rule, from 1948 until that day in 1967.

The Six Day War started when 4 armies attacked Israel simultaneously. It is said that if you don’t know where you have been you cannot know where you are going.

The Temple Mount was shared until that time, Jews, Christians and Moslems all went up to their Holy places and it saddens me that we are banned from praying on our holiest site. In my extensive travels around the globe I have visited many a church, cathedral, chapel, temple, mosque and of course synagogue and never have I been stopped or stopped anyone else from praying. When we repeated the prayer “Next Year in Jerusalem” or recited the words of King David “If I forget the Oh Jerusalem”  it was never for the shopping mall or the King David Hotel, it was for the Temple Mount. Jews everywhere, from Toronto to Wales; from Gondar to Johannesburg; from Manhattan to Mexico City, all just prayer for and prayed to one place, Jerusalem.

Last night we were in the home of Danny Adeno Abebe, born in far distant Gondar, Ethiopia. Danny invited a few people to hear the story of his journey, his Masa, through the eyes of a barefoot 8 year old goatherd. When Danny and his family left Gondar one day in 1984 together with his entire village, they did not set out for Israel, they didn’t know anything about Israel. They had one dream, Jerusalem.  Danny today bears no resemblance to Adeno the barefoot boy – he is a brilliant journalist, an author and speaker and best of all married to Aviva and they have four gorgeous children and a dog called Milky. Happily his Mother is my friend. This song gives you a little glimpse of the trek, this one much later but still with one aim, to come to Jerusalem.

President Herzog wrote a beautiful tribute to the City of Jerusalem. ” There is no other city in the world like Jerusalem. A city that people pine for, a city that they face to pray, and for whose sake they pray, a city to which so many look up. A city that serves as common ground but is often also a locus of friction. A city that contains a bit of everything: the spirit of sanctity and the vibrancy of day-to-day life. Jerusalem is a city whose one million inhabitants reflect the entire mosaic of Israeli society and its complexity, a city whose name means peace, yet a city that has also known many wars.”

So, Jerusalem Day. One day in the year Jews, a small number and carefully picked, are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount and enthusiastic youngsters from various Yeshivas, Ulpanas, high schools etc carry Israeli flags down Agron Street turn left and enter the Old City through the Damascus Gate and continue to the Western Wall where they will dance and sing Hatikva. Of course there will be the usual stone throwing, demands that Jews be stopped from going through the Damascus Gate, claims of destruction of the Mosque but in fact it is thousands of young people expressing their joy at being in Jerusalem!

It is a day of celebration, but sadly not without the ultimate threat of the enemies both within and without.

Meir Banai z”l was a member of Jerusalem’s most famous theatre family. All born and bred right here in the city their love for Jerusalem clear. Meir wrote this song about the Mercy Gate, the Gate through which the Messiah will come.

Yaakov Shweckey sings If I forget Thee Oh Jerusalem

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget her cunning.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
if I remember thee not;
if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.

Remember all of you, whatever your faith, wherever you pray and in which direction you face, a welcome awaits you in Jerusalem. This is a fabulous city, it bubbles with activities, phenomenal food, of course Mahane Yehuda; our parks are lush, our trees many, the botanical gardens exquisite and if you have never been before, prepare to be surprised – it is a world apart from the way it is presented in the media. Come and walk in the footsteps of King David, of Jesus and the ancestors of those who live here today

See you soon

Happy Jerusalem Day!!