Have You Heard of Yom Yerushalayim?

Annual celebration of the reunification of Jerusalem is one of the few times that secular and Orthodox Israelis dance together

By David Lazarus | | Topics: Jerusalem
Photo: Alana Perino / Flash 90

It’s a holiday and a Holy Day where the streets of Jerusalem are filled with music and covered with blue and white as the nation comes up to celebrate the miracle that the City of Gold is in the faithful hands of the Jewish Nation once again after 2000 years.

It is perhaps the only time that both religious and secular Jews celebrate together with prayers and dancing in a public demonstration of the fulfillment of the biblical prophecies, which declare: “There shall again be joyful sounds in the streets of Jerusalem.”

Following Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, Jerusalem was a divided city. For 19 years, West Jerusalem belonged to Israel, while East Jerusalem was held by Jordan. It was only in 1967, on the third day of the Six-Day War, that IDF paratroopers commanded by Col. Motta Gur (a future Chief of Staff) broke through the Jordanian defenses and recaptured the Old City and East Jerusalem. The reunification of Jerusalem was celebrated with Gur’s famous declaration, “The Temple Mount is in our hands!”

This year’s Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) marks 52 years of the return of Jerusalem to Jewish hands. For the first time in 30 years, police are reporting that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem will be closed to Jewish visitors due to security concerns. 

A few of the special events for Sunday, June 2, Jerusalem Day 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a ceremony to commemorate the Ethiopian Jews who perished in the desert on their way to Eretz Israel at the memorial site for Ethiopian Jews on Mount Herzl.

Jerusalem Day Tour at the National Library of Jerusalem and the exhibition “Jerusalem Above and Below, The Heavenly and Earthly Jerusalem in the National Library Collections.” This is an opportunity to connect with the Jewish history of the Holy City and view the historical archive materials in the library.

“If I forget thee O Jerusalem…” From 16:30-18:30 – Girls will gather at Bezalel, boys will gather in Heichal Shlomo to dance in the center of the city on three stages along King George Street. Afterwards they will march to the Western Wall – girls through Jaffa Gate and Zion Gate, boys through the Damascus Gate and the Dung Gate. From 20:00-22:30 there will be a huge gathering with prayers and dancing with flags at the Western Wall plaza.

Jerusalem Day at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem. From 12:00-17:00, families and visitors can enjoy guided tours through the museum with free entrance. The museum exhibits a fascinating look at Jerusalem’s past and its historical figures and personalities. The Jerusalem Orchestra East-West will also be performing at the museum. From 15:30-17:00, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion will be at the museum to meet and greet visitors. 

Jerusalem Day Evening Ceremony at Ammunition Hill. The gates will open to the public at 17:30 and the show will begin at 19:30. 

Jerusalem Day Street Game. A free event promoting a game that brings strangers together through short and deep personal conversations. The game takes place in the street and serves to promote collaboration, understanding and awareness. Meet at the Central Light Rail Station 17:00-20:00.

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