Yesterday (Wednesday) the Jewish world celebrated 43 years since the Liberation, Reunification and Restoration of Jewish sovereignty over our eternal capital, Jerusalem.
It had been a hard day at work yesterday and when I left the office (with a headache) after 6pm (I’d been there since 7.30 in the morning), all I had on my mind was returning a DVD to Blockbuster and going home to rest. But the streets were full of people carrying the blue and white flag of the State of Israel, singing and dancing and I was suddenly overcome by an overwhelming urge to visit the Kotel – the Western Wall. It was what lawyers call "an irresistible impulse".
So I joined the crowds of people streaming towards the Old City, and was swept up among the tens of thousands thronging its narrow streets, flocking to Judaism’s holiest site – the one we were prevented from visiting throughout the 19 years of Jordanian occupation.
When I reached the main square of the Jewish Quarter, I lingered to visit the Hurva synagogue, re-dedicated less than two months ago, having been lovingly restored to its former glory on the same site it had occupied for 300 years before being wantonly destroyed by the occupying Jordanians in 1948 – along with every other synagogue in the Old City.
The service was in progress while I was there, so I could only take pictures from the women’s gallery, or through a window from the outside courtyard…
After that, it was on to the Kotel. Every time I approach the Wall, my footsteps quicken and my heart beats faster. Even if I hadn’t been following the crowds, I would have found it, just as I did on my very first visit, 40 years ago. This time, my ears would have told me where to go. Not for nothing is the annual Jerusalem Day march to the Kotel called "The Dance of the Flags" – and to dance, you need music…
The laughter of children echoes once more through the streets of Jerusalem…..
Rejoice, Daughters of Zion, and be glad…..
My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all people….
I pray for the day when that may come to pass…..