Today is Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), celebrating the city and its reunification during the Six Day War. In 1967, Israel fought in a war against Syria, Jordan, and Egypt that lasted a total of six days. In less than a week, Israel won the land of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. More than that, the Israel Defense Forces reunited Jerusalem. For the first time in thousands of years a united Jerusalem was under Jewish control. The Paratroopers who arrived at the Western Wall were the first Jews to see the Western Wall in nineteen years!
Today, it is a celebratory day with parades, singing, and more! Visitors from the world come to Jerusalem to celebrate the city’s celebration. The city holds special tours, concerts, and other events. Religious Jews will recite special, important prayers for holidays. It is definitely a day with being in the holy city for!!
Now, we have a heard Jerusalem a lot in the News lately, especially in relation to the United Nations. We hear that Jerusalem has no connection to the religion of Judaism. Here are ten connections between the city of Jerusalem and Judaism:
Mount Moriah, the site where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac is believed to be in Jerusalem.
In Genesis, G-d puts Abraham to a test and asks him to sacrifices his beloved son Isaac, on Mount Moriah. We read the story in Genesis Chapter 22. It is believed that Mount Moriah is the same peak that the Temple Mound with be built on. It is also believed to lead to the center of the world.
King David established his capital here with the City of David.
King David is anointed after King Saul was killed in northern Israel. Once he becomes King, he decides to move the capital to a place in that could be for all of the Jewish people in the homeland. He builds the City of David on the border between the tribes of Benjamin and Judah and on the slopes of Mount Moriah. Archeological excavations have proven this city’s existence, importance, and role in Jewish history.
King Solomon built the First Temple in Jerusalem.
King David’s son, King Solomon, takes over after and he builds the First Temple… on Mount Moriah. The First Temple was the center of Judaism. Jews presented their new born children, made sacrifices, and came three times a year to make a pilgrimage. It was the center of Judaism as they knew it.
Nehemiah built the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Th Babylonian forces destroyed the Temple and exiled the Jews from their homeland by the Babylonian forces in 586 BCE. Fifty years later in 536 BCE the Persians took over and allowed the Jews to return to the land of Israel and rebuild their Holy Temple. And once again the Temple became the center of Judaism. King Herod will expand the Temple Mound under his reign. It serves the Jewish people until 70 CE when the Romans destroyed the Second Temple. The Western Wall is a remain from the Second Temple.
It was the center of Jewish leadership until the Roman destruction in 70 CE.
The Jewish leadership, Priests, and other leaders centered around Jerusalem. Jews made important doctrine in Jerusalem… until 70 C.E. The Roman destruction of Jerusalem didn’t just destroy Judaism’s center, it exiled the Jewish leadership from its home. Archeologists found inscriptions, archeological remains, and descriptions to support this.
It is the direction that Jews, around the world, pray towards.
Because Jerusalem was the home of the center of the Earth, Mount Moriah, the First Temple, and the Second Temple, Jews around the world pray toward Jerusalem, more specifically the Western Wall, the last remains of that very spot. Three times a day Jews from Russia to the United States, from Canada to Argentina to South Africa and Australia and India, pray towards Jerusalem.
It is an ancient center of Jewish thought and development.
Over thousands of years Jewish leaders have lived in Jerusalem and created Jewish doctrine, beliefs, and connections to the Land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. The importance and central aspects of Jerusalem continued from the Second Temple onward because of those leaders and Jews who lived in the holy city of Jerusalem.
It is home to the oldest, continuous used Jewish cemetery in the world.
The Mount of Olives is home to the oldest, continuous used Jewish cemetery in the world. Jews from the Second Temple Period onward have been buried here. This includes former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, members of the military group Etzel, priestly families in the Second Temple, and Jews living ordinary lives in Jerusalem for thousands of years.
It is where the Jewish Messiah will arrive.
Jews are buried on the Mount of Olives because it faces the Old City of Jerusalem. And it is there that the Jewish Messiah will arrive in the Messianic Ages. The Messianic Age is what so many Jews pray and wait for. Those Jews buried on the Mount of Olives are facing Jerusalem, so that when the Messiah arrives and they are resurrected, they can walk straight to the holy city of Jerusalem. Wouldn’t it be cool if it happened on Yom Yerushalayim?!
Thousands of Jews moved to Jerusalem during the waves of immigration to the land before the State is born.
Beginning in 1882, five major waves of immigration bring thousands of Jews home to the land of Israel. Many will move to Jerusalem. They will develop industry, religious institutions, Hebrew University, and more. They helped preserve the ancient and the holiness, while advancing the new and future.
It is the capital of the Jewish people.
At the end of the day that is why Jerusalem, and Yom Yerushalayim, is so important. For thousands of years, Jerusalem has been the religious, political, and economic capital. So when the Paratroopers came to the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967 to reunite the city, the Jewish world was in total joy. This really is what explains why Yom Yerusahalayim is so important.
Jerusalem is the holiest site in Judaism, and the story and the relationship has been continuous. It was an incredible moment for the Jewish people. That is why Yom Yerushalayim is such a celebratory day in Israel. May everyone have a Happy Jerusalem Day!!