A quiet moment this week at the Kotel,
“Next year in Jerusalem”
has been for centuries,
the mantra of the Jewish people.
At the conclusion of the Passover seder
and at end of weddings by breaking a glass,
the destruction of Jerusalem was remembered.
From May 1948 to June 1967,
the years under Jordanian occupation,
reaching the Kotel, Western Wall or
walking near the Temple Mount,
was only for the imagination or in a dream.
A view from a look out at Notre Dame,
over a dangerous No Man’s Land,
was as close as a Jew could get.
For those under the age of 60,
the drama and trauma of the Six-Day War,
and the resulting victory are taken for granted.
The rush of feelings, of a miraculous deliverance
against giant Arab armies attacking on all sides is lost.
The significance of
for today tens of thousands can reach the Kotel Plaza to pray.
However, the Six-Day War,
also saw the return to Gush Etzion,
a distance 16 kilometers south of the Knesset.
And in the north,
the beautiful Kineret, Sea of Galilee,
had Syrians in those Golan Heights towering above.
Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus
was closed after a convoy of medical staff was ambushed
and 73 people were murdered in April 1948.
This memorial wall in the Mt. Scopus memorial garden
was backdrop for a reenactment of Hadassah getting its keys back
from Mayor Teddy Kollek, in June of 1967.
And the West Bank,
which was for centuries known as Judea and Samaria,
the land of Benjamin,
stretches as far as the eye can see,
and includes Tel Shilo,
which for 369 years was location of the Holy Ark,
before the time of King David and the Temple in Jerusalem.
Half a century.
This is a wondrous time to be in Jerusalem, Israel.
The days of choking polluted air
from vehicles stuck in heavy traffic on Yaffa Road,
are vanishing memories, as the light rail trains run by.
things are far from perfect,
but I would not want to go back to 51 years ago.
Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day,
saw tens of thousands celebrating on King George Street,
as it filled with a sea of blue and white Israeli flags.
Afternoon shadows were not good for photos,
but the shade from hot sun was appreciated.
The Flag Parade, with its singing and dancing,
is mostly known for rowdy young male participants.
Last year I walked the entire route,
and as usual, if RJS is there, nothing bad happened.
This year what was significant was
not the guys, but the girls.
There were so many girls.
The crowd of girls stretched far into town,
farther than the eye or zoom lens could see.
There were two bands for separate dancing,
with their Israeli flags,
these girls were next to the guys’ circles,
but the guys seemed to take no notice of them.
Also significant to note concerning this day,
more than just teenage exuberance,
is the young families, who were walking,
hundreds of families, many dressed in blue and white.
While thousands of older people lined the streets to watch.
From around the world they came,
to join in the celebrations
of Jerusalem being liberated and reunited,
on 28th of Iyar, June 1967,
as Israeli paratroopers reentered the Old City by way of the Lions’ Gate.
All the street closings
for flags and dancing and parades,
and the Trump presidential visit caused less
traffic havoc than two accidents and
an overload of cars on Thursday, causing gridlock,
making Jerusalem look like one big parking lot.
Tens of thousands of international visitors are still around.
A group of Christian tourists were dancing at Yaffa Gate,
to the Hebrew song “Moshiach.”
Under a clear blue sky the Old City
was serene and picture perfect.
On Shavuot, 5 Sivan, Tuesday, May 30,
the streets will again be filled, not with cars,
but with throngs of people walking,
to the Kotel, Western Wall for holiday prayers.
During the Six-Day War, all of Israel was united,
The defeat of the invading Arab armies has often been
described as miraculous.
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could come together again,
in good times, not just bad.
A timely message on this Jerusalem public bus.
Chag Sameach, Happy Holiday.