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Jerusalem's Jubilee: 50 Years Since Reunification!
May 19, 2017

Jerusalem Celebrates Its Jubilee!

Next week marks the 50th anniversary since the reunification of Jerusalem.

Fifty years since people of all faiths — Jews, Christians and Muslims — are once again allowed to worship freely in the Holy City.

Jerusalem Day is always one of the most moving days of the year in this city. It commemorates the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War. From 1948 to 1967, the eastern part of Jerusalem was in Jordanian hands. Snipers use the Old City's ramparts to shoot daily at the Israeli residential areas below. No Jews or Christian pilgrims were allowed into the Old City to worship at their most holy sites.

Before that, too, Jews had struggled to have access to pray at the Western Wall, the last remnant of the Second Temple. Under the British, the Ottoman, all the way back to Roman times, to pray here was precarious at best, often forbidden.

On the 28th of the Jewish month of Iyar, 1967, the Western Wall and the Old City was returned to the Children of Israel.

That historical moment was described by the late Yitzhak Rabin: “I felt truly shaken and stood there murmuring a prayer for peace. Motta Gur’s paratroopers were struggling to reach the Wall and touch it. We stood among a tangle of rugged, battle-weary men who were unable to believe their eyes or restrain their emotions. Their eyes were moist with tears, their speech incoherent. The overwhelming desire was to cling to the Wall, to hold on to that great moment as long as possible.”

The General Shlomo Goren, Chaplain of the Israel Defense Forces described it thus: "“I am speaking to you from the plaza of the Western Wall, the remnant of our Holy Temple. ‘Comfort my people, comfort them, says the Lord your God.’ This is the day we have hoped for, let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation. The vision of all generations is being realized before our eyes: The city of God, the site of the Temple, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the symbol of the nation’s redemption, have been redeemed today by you, heroes of the Israel Defense Forces. By doing so you have fulfilled the oath of generations, ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning.’ Indeed, we have not forgotten you, Jerusalem, our holy city, our glory. In the name of the entire Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, I hereby recite with supreme joy, Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us in life, who has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this day."

Since then, Israel has fulfilled the promise of Moshe Dayan: "To our Arab neighbors we extend, especially at this hour, the hand of peace. To members of the other religions, Christians and Muslims, I hereby promise faithfully that their full freedom and all their religious rights will be preserved. We did not come to Jerusalem to conquer the Holy Places of others."

Since that day, the holy places of Jerusalem have been accessible to all. Jerusalem's heart is once more, as King Solomon meant it to be, "a house of prayer for all nations."

Jerusalem Day Celebrations

Jerusalem is celebrating from May 21 to May 24, with an array of events of all types, from parades and concerts to all-night street parties.

Don't miss the once-in-a-life-time sound and light show on the ramparts of the Old City on the evening of Sunday, May 21, at 20:30.

Our Jerusalem Jubilee Monopoly Tour

We've been getting in the mood for the big day since April, when we got our very own copy of the special edition Jerusalem Monopoly game.

Jerusalem Monopoly

Isn't this the coolest thing? Buy the Western Wall instead of Boardwalk. Stop by Machane Yehuda or build a hotel by Teddy Stadium. While we've got some real quibbles over Hasbro's valuation (who really believes the Calatrava Bridge is worth so much more than the Western Wall? I mean, the bridge is nice, but it's the Western Wall, folks — built by Solomon, King David, King Herod; the holiest site to Jews all over the world, a house of prayer for all nations!) it is really fun to play Monopoly through the Holy City.

So in honor of Jerusalem Day, we decided to have a go around the board on our blog.

We started with 21 locations from the board, 7 days to visit them...

We've got four more days to go, so stop by to catch up on the first few days:

Day One of the Jerusalem Monopoly Tour

Day Two

Day Three will go live later today. (Just to keep you in suspense!)

In the meantime, how will you be commemorating Yom Yerushalayim?

Your Prayers in the Wall

If you aren't in Jerusalem, remember that you can always send your prayers to the Western Wall through our site. (Your prayers are strictly confidential and are deleted from our system as soon as they are delivered to the Wall.)

This is a free service that we consider a privilege to provide. Jewish tradition, however, teaches that prayer and charity, together, have the power to change Divine decrees. So please consider super-charging your prayer with a donation to our charity fund for disabled children in Jerusalem. Your donation, however small, would help provide much-needed services, therapy and medications for severely disabled children in Jerusalem.

Whatever you choose to do and however you choose to mark Jerusalem Day, may it be a joyful day for you and your family. Safe journeys and may we see you soon, here, in Yerushalayim.

Blessings from Jerusalem. And since it's Friday, we wish you a Shabbat Shalom!

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Experience Shabbat in Hebrew

Have you ever had an experience of doing something every day and suddenly someone showed you a different way of doing it? This might have changed the way you understand it ever since. As a Jew, You have probably celebrated Shabbat a thousand times before and seen your wife lite the Shabbat candles. But
have you celebrated Shabbat in Israel?

Let’s get ready for Shabbat and light Shabbat candles together and learn how to do it in Hebrew, like true Israelis.

Noa Badihi-Kalfus,
Head of the Modern Hebrew Department, eTeacherGroup.

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