Jerusalem, My Home

The view from my new apartment is simply astonishing.  There is no problem figuring out in which direction to pray — you can see straight through to the Old City and the site of the former Temple from the living room window.

You can also see east and west of the Old City, at the remarkable amount of both Jewish and Arab development.  Today marks 44 years since Israeli troops captured the Old City and reunified Jerusalem, which had been partially under Jordanian rule.  Arabs, Jews, Christians, and anyone else can roam the city freely.

Given that the status of Jerusalem is so controversial and where one lives can be so political, I asked a colleague of mine if my home is over the “green line,” as the armistice line is called.  According to Google Maps it’s unclear — a sort of no man’s land in the former orchards of Kibbutz Ramat Rachel.

I really don’t see how anyone can suggest dividing Jerusalem ever again.  In a few days, tens of thousands of Jews will flock to the Kotel on the holiday of Shavuot, to commemorate the giving of the Torah and recreate the aliya l’regel of the pilgrimage festival.  This was impossible under Jordanian rule and for so many hundreds of generations before.  Nevertheless, those who wish to visit Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount cannot bring any religious articles. (The problems with visiting Har HaBayit today will be left for another post.)

Though the area historically had not been a focal point for Muslims, when Israel gained control of eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in 1967, the area became the site of religious fervor and incitement.  Israeli authorities turned control of the Temple Mount over to the Jordanian Islamic Waqf as a gesture of peace but seem to receive few benefits in my opinion.

The site of the Temple was captured, and then returned.  Today, we celebrate the Jewish victory, with dancing and singing.  Some will say Hallel and other special prayers.  The situation is not ideal, from a Jewish perspective, an Arab perspective, and from the perspective of the international community, but I’d like to argue that Jerusalem is thriving like never before in its history spanning thousands of years.  And that is something to celebrate.

For more on the history of Jerusalem, check out this video, which summarizes 4,000 years in 5 minutes!

(Full disclosure: I provided minor assistance to this project and uploaded it on to  YouTube.)


1 Response to “Jerusalem, My Home”

  1. 1 Jack Rosenblum June 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    This is an amazing blog post. Keep these great comments coming!!!

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Ilene Rosenblum is a writer and marketing professional living in Jerusalem.

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