Yom Yerushalaim Message
We are approaching Yom Yerushalaim, the day that celebrates the reunification of the City of David, the City of Light, Tzion. 47 years ago, during the 6 Days War, Tzahal - IDF, the Israel Defense Army - restored to our People our Millennial City, founded by King David, capital and seat of our first two independent Jewish States (the First Commonwealth destroyed by the Babylonians in 586bce and the Second by the Romans in 70ce.).
This reunification was no minor issue: the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, since its invasion and conquest of the Old City during the Jewish State's War of Liberation in 1948 - expelled its Jewish inhabitants, and prohibited access not only of Israelis, but all Jews, to the most sacred place of our People. For 19 years, the Children of Israel were deprived of contact with our most precious place; the site to which our prayers are directed from each synagogue or simple minyan from the four corners of the earth, the place which throughout the centuries inspired our poets and writers, the place whose mere name - HaKotel - arouses our deepest emotions. The expulsion of the Jews from the Old City was especially brutal, given that the Jews were the majority religious group in the city since at least the mid-19th century - a fact conveniently "forgotten" by those who contend against Jewish rights to the City of David.
Since the liberation of Jerusalem on 28 Iyar 5727 - June 7, 1967, the city has developed extremely rapidly, open to all religious faiths which consider it sacred and important. For us, Jews both inside and outside the State of Israel, Jerusalem is both a symbol and a hagshamah: a symbol, as the heart of the Jewish imagination - our most sacred place, revered for over three millennia -; hagshamah, realizing our return to re-build the city, a synonym also for the re-building of our People in our Homeland.
Our Sages expressed a reason for the sanctity of Jerusalem following
the destruction of the Second Temple:
"Rav Acha said: The Shechinah
(Emanation and Presence of God) never left the Kotel HaMaaravi
(the Western Wall which guarded the Great Temple of Jerusalem, also called the Wailing Wall).
By linking ourselves with Jerusalem, we reunited ourselves with the God who never left it, with our past and present, with our future and its challenges - including peace with our neighbors. Jerusalem is a central thread of our history as a People, a sign of our continuity. We celebrate the joy of being able to reconnect with ourselves as Jews, walking its narrow alleys to rejoice in the majesty of the Temple Mount, discovering the excitement of being part of a chain that links us with all our past and future generations of Jews who, through us, return to Jerusalem - the city we have never forsaken and left behind, the City that was and is the center of our prayers.
With deep gratitude to our soldiers, the liberators of Jerusalem,
for giving us back the opportunity to be one
with the City of Light, of Peace, of Unity,
Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!
RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO
Deputy Director-General & Director of Education
Maccabi World Union
In the year 1006 b.c.e.
Including the Temple Mount, where the 2 Great Temples were erected.
10 Jews bide by the responsibility of the mitzvot - the Jewish precepts; the minimum number necessary to perform a complete prayer.
Records from 1844 show the exact numerical Jewish majority in Jerusalem, which increased in every decade since then. Menashe Harrel, "The Jewish Presence in Jerusalem through the Ages" in Sinai and Oestericcher, eds., Jerusalem, John Day, 1974.
Midrash, Shemot Raba 2:2.