Yom Yerushalayim 5780, Jerusalem Day 2020, marks the 53rd year of the liberation of Jerusalem from Jordanian rule and the return of Jews to the Old City after 19 years of exile.
With restrictions due to pandemic COVID-19 still enforced, the usual large public musical gatherings did not happen. However, multiple events were held and broadcast live. The backyard minyan in the back of our house concluded their morning prayer service with the singing of HaTikvah.
A truck blasting holiday music went around Jerusalem streets on the eve of Yom Yerushalayim. I noticed later all the Israeli flags on the cars following behind.
It has become a tradition on the eve of Yom Yerushalayim to remember the Ethiopians who died on the treacherous journey to reach Jerusalem. The annual ceremony is held at Har Herzl near the monument in their memory.
Here President Rivlin greets the religious leaders after the official state event, held before a much smaller audience this year.
Later in the day, Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Isaac Herzog and the new Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata welcomed 119 new olim from Ethiopia to Israel. Each year for Sigd, I marvel at how they prayed toward the holy Temple in Jerusalem, yearning to return to Zion, long before Herzl and political Zionism.
At night the scene at the Kotel, Western Wall, was also different than in the past, divided into sections and numbers greatly limited.
This Israeli flag displayed before the evening prayers was not small at all!
There was a live broadcast of the special evening service, with a special prayer book,
and with the Israeli Chief Rabbis in attendance.
Cantor Shai Abramson once again led the service with his powerful and impressive voice.
Thousands of people singing and dancing with flags – not this year.
But there was an enthusiastic FlagDance of coronavirus proportions.
At Ammunition Hill the official state celebration of the liberation of Jerusalem 53 years ago began with remembering fallen soldiers.
President Rivlin spoke and also Prime Minister and Jerusalem Mayor.
Fireworks ended the program which included musical performances.
The traditional celebration at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav was held outdoors this year, and featured the Prime Minister as a speaker.
Each year the Mayor of Jerusalem rushes from one event to another.
The rest of us have to decide where to go and how to get around the crowds.
This year it was not such a big problem.
Everything was new and different this year and most of it online!
Want more? See 2 hours of Jerusalem songs from Yom Yerushalayim HERE
Even Tel Aviv lit up its love for Jerusalem on Yom Yerushalayim.
This video was taken 5 years ago, but it’s worth sharing again to hear such beautiful voices.
I posted the video on LinkedIn for Yom Yerushalayim, and surprise! I found out that the ‘soldier’ on the left is the cousin of an old friend!
On or off the Jerusalem streets, there is always something happening.
Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!
Happy Jerusalem Day