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Celebrate Jerusalem Day!
May 28, 2014

Today, we celebrate Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, on which we commemorate the reunification of our city in 1967.

Jerusalem is at the heart of the Jewish religion. Three times a day, every day, Jews pray facing Jerusalem for the privilege to return here. It is hard to describe the heartbreaking tear in the Israeli psyche – and for Jews all over the world – caused by the division of Jerusalem in 1948. The day of its completely unexpected, miraculous reunification in 1967 is one of the most awe-inspiring moments of modern times.

Joy and pain often go hand-in-hand, and so this day, too, is marked by both, somber ceremonies to commemorate our fallen soldiers, and joyful celebrations. For listing of events taking place on Yom Yerushalayim and to read more about this special day, click here...

On our blog yesterday, we also included two lovely Yom Yerushalayim videos we found on the web. Check them out here.

The 2014 Edition Is Here

And just in time for Yom Yerushalayim, we're so pleased to announce that the newly updated version of our guidebook is finally here! So if you're planning a trip here this summer, don't leave home without your copy of our downloadable Intro to Jerusalem: A Guide to the Holy Ciy e-guidebook, so you'll know how to maximize your time here.

As I promised in an earlier newsletter, we'll send the updated copy free to any loyal subscriber of our newsletter who purchased the guide after January 1, 2014. So if you'd like the newest version, send me an email with your name, email address used at the time of purchase, the date of purchase and, if you still have it, your receipt. (If you don't have it anymore, don't worry - we can track down your purchase without it, but it may take a bit more time.) While you're at it, please let us know what you thought of the guidebook. Every new edition reflects changes readers asked for or suggested, so your feedback will help us with next year's edition. Yup, as soon as one edition is out, we start working on the next one!

Happy Shavuot!

On the heels of Jerusalem Day, we celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. You know it's on the way when there are suddenly twice as many cheeses and other dairy products on the shelves here than is normal. Traditionally, this holiday's foods are predominantly dairy, so get ready for cheesecake all over town. You’ll find more about the holiday, from festive recipes (cheesecake, yes!), fun facts and inspiration, here.

On the day itself, the Western Wall is the place to be at the crack of dawn. People have a custom of staying up all night to study religious texts and tens of thousands of them meet at the Wall for morning prayers.

Another place to visit now is King David’s tomb on Mt. Zion, just outside the Old City Walls. Shavuot is both his birthday and the anniversary of his death. This explains the tradition of reciting Psalms during the holiday. (To be honest, King David is probably not buried in King David's Tomb, but the site has been a synagogue for over two thousand years.)

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, as well as food to help them enjoy the upcoming holiday.

Summer in Jerusalem

Record numbers of visitors are flocking to Jerusalem this summer. I say that almost every year, but it's true/ See this newstory from Algemeiner. We don't need the papers to know this, though - just walk through downtown Jerusalem to see for yourself!

The take away from this news, for those of you planning a trip to Jerusalem this summer, is that our tour guides are booking up very quickly and a few are already full booked all the way through September! So be sure to arrange for your tour guide, choose a Jerusalem Walking Tour that you might be interested in sooner rather than later. They’re filling up fast!

The same goes for a Jerusalem Scavenger Hunt. If you're traveling with a group of five or more, we can't recommend this activity enough. You’ll discover things about Jerusalem you never knew – no matter how long you might have lived here! It’s lots of fun and a fabulous educational activity for older kids and teens. Since last year, they've added scavenger hunts in Gush Etzion, following the footsteps of the Patriarchs. But as with our tour guides, don't wait to book a date.

We look forward to hearing all about your experiences in and around Jerusalem. May you have a wonderful holiday and may it inaugurate a fantastic summer for you and your family.

Safe journeys and may we see you soon, here, in Yerushalayim.
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Silver necklace with your name in Hebrew

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May we see you soon, here, in Yerushalayim!

Blessings from Jerusalem,
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