Shabbat Shalom!

I draw your attention to the many exciting initiatives that will be taking place at the Shul over the upcoming week/s. Please take a look and make an effort to bring your kids and join us. We have an exciting array of speakers arranged for our Shavuot late night learning program. I, personally, look forward to sharing with you some special reflections of my recent Half Marathon experience and how it has altered the way I view Shavuot this year!

This past week (Wednesday) we celebrated a significant event in the history of Jerusalem our holy city.

Now, I am not referring to the historic visit of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania although it was a special visit for a number of reasons. To read an interesting viewpoint on his visit and the state of Israel’s affairs today click here to read this article by Isi Liebler

I am referring to Yom Yerushalayim that fell out on Wednesday this past week. Now, what is this holiday called Yom Yerushalayim and why is it so significant to us?

Here is a good description that I have seen on JewishVirtualLibrary.

Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day in Hebrew) is the anniversary of the liberation and unification of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty that occurred during the Six Day War. It is one of four holidays (in addition to Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron, and Yom HaAtzmaut) that were added to the Jewish calendar in the 20th century. Yom Yerushalayim is celebrated on the 28th of the month of Iyar (one week before Shavuot).

David Rubinger's famous photograph of IDF soldiers after liberating the Kotel (Western Wall) in June 1967David Rubinger’s famous photograph of IDF soldiers after liberating the Kotel (Western Wall) in June 1967

The liberation of Jerusalem in 1967 marked the first time in thousands of years that the entire city of Jerusalem, the holiest city in Judaism, was under Jewish sovereignty. The destruction of Jerusalem was a watershed event in Jewish history that began thousands of years of mourning for Jerusalem, so, it follows, that the reunification of Jerusalem should be a joyous celebration that begins the process of reversing thousands of years of destruction and exile. Jerusalem is central to the Jewish tradition. Jews face in the direction of Jerusalem and all of the prayer services are filled with references to Jerusalem.

The observance of Yom Yerushalayim outside of the city cannot compare to its celebration in reunited Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, thousands of people march around the city and walk through the liberated Old City, where Jews were denied access from 1948 to 1967 while it was under Jordanian control. The march ends at the Kotel(Western Wall), one of the ancient retaining walls surrounding the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. Once everyone gets to the Kotel, there are speeches and concerts and celebratory dancing.

On this day we pray for peace in Jerusalem and for all of her neighbours. As King David, the Psalmist says (Psalm 122): “May she have peace within her walls, serenity within her palaces”.

Wishing you and your families Shabbat Shalom and a Chag Sameach for Shavuot next week!

Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman