web analytics
January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Joy Of All The Earth: Meditations on Jerusalem

Comparable to a 70-facet diamond, Jerusalem is an ongoing love story between the Almighty and His people even as it is a bone of contention between the descendants of Dovid HaMelech and the nations of the world that view the city as their personal possession.
General view of Mamila mall, the Mamila project in Jeusalem on it's opening night, May 28 2007.

General view of Mamila mall, the Mamila project in Jeusalem on it's opening night, May 28 2007.
Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90

Have you ever met anyone embracing seventy names? Have you ever tried searching for an item that has seventy names?

If you haven’t located that elusive city connected to seventy identities, a plane, bus or the light rail can transport you to it: a holy spiritual center, an ancient modern city – combinations that evoke weird and wonderful reactions from devotees and detesters, the sane and insane.

There is no other location with seventy exquisite names – Ohaliba, Gila, Yedidut, Shalem, etc. – names that express sentiments of love and joy, of friendship and peace; seventy choice callings found in Tanach and Talmudic texts, known foremost as Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is not my birth city. Jerusalem is my home. Sacred and ancestral, it is the city of kings and prophets, a city that has known countless wars and total destruction. Yet our generation has merited a revitalized Jerusalem, a thriving city atop layers of antiquity, Israel’s captivating capital.

Modern-day Jerusalem is nothing short of a miracle and one of the days for celebration is the 28th of Iyar, Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day. Not everyone revels on that joyous occasion; the defeated abhor Jewish expansion, Jewish presence, and Israeli success. Some prefer life as it was pre-1967; a city of barbed wire, sporting a belted waistline, mapped in green.

But I, who have lived here for fifty-four years, and nearly everyone else who experienced a Jerusalem divided by ugly concrete walls and twisted piercing wire, where Jordanian Legionnaires on Mamilla rooftops shelled and fired at Jews below, cannot ignore the miraculous fulfillment of prophecies worthy of celebration.

* * * * * Malls are not my favorite shopping habitat. Some are so overwhelming in size and sound, so excessively commercial, so physically exhausting. Still, there is one mall, only one, that touches a chord in my heart; not because of fashionable shops, cafés, or the artwork displayed, although admittedly they enhance the atmosphere. My affection stems from historical significance, a sense of triumph when reflecting, when sitting on a bench or walking along the stony paths surrounding the mall.

It is on Jerusalem Day, when I visit Mamilla, built above ruins of a shopping street opposite the Old City walls, that I reminisce.

Mamilla is an elongated stretch, a street that includes upscale housing, hotels, plus a mall – and Jerusalem Day is when I recall that 66 years earlier Jewish shops were looted and destroyed and shopkeepers were chased and slain by Arab marauders who thirsted for the area to be rid of Jews forever.

In their lust for blood, they turned the street into ruins. Few aspired to live or pursue business ventures in bombed-out buildings on the Jordan-Israel armistice line, on land that no one ever imagined would one day become coveted, exclusive property. Ironically, the word Mamilla, which may be Arabic, is strongly rooted in Hebrew: maleh, mimale, i.e., full, and fulfilling.

* * * * *

The Six-Day war was fought fiercely and swiftly. Israel did not expect to fight on three fronts. King Hussein’s decision to join the Egyptians and Syrians and declare war, forced Israel to defend Jerusalem by opening a third front.

On June 5, 1967, Jerusalemites sat in bomb shelters. I was among them, a 26-year-old mother of two young children, an American who had never experienced war and was traumatized by events surrounding the seemingly peaceful Rechavia neighborhood where we lived.

Mamilla, an ugly border street, was only a few blocks away. An army platoon was stationed in our backyard, situated in the Rechavia Valley. Three weeks before the war kindergarten children started filling protective sandbags while the Chevra Kadisha dug graves for the anticipated mass fatalities.

About the Author: Faigie Heiman is an accomplished short-story and essay writer and the author of a popular memoir titled “Girl For Sale.” Born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, she has lived in Israel for more than fifty years.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Joy Of All The Earth: Meditations on Jerusalem”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS murderers threatening Obama
ISIS: We Will Behead Obama, Make US Part of the Caliphate [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi Sholom Klass

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Sheldon Silver

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

To defeat parasites-the hosts of terrorists-we need to deny them new people, potential terrorists

Combating Amalek doesn’t mean all who disagree with you is evil-rather whom to follow and to oppose

Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t

There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.

Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.

Since the passing of the Governance bill legislation on March 11, 2014, new alignments have become to appear in Israeli politics.

More Articles from Faigie Heiman
Mrs. Hench Leiman

Aunt Hench is a natural charmer. A people person, spunky and quick as only someone small as a light bulb can be, and wherever she is, she is a bright star.

President Reuven Rivlin

The president’s message was one of living peacefully in a Jewish and democratic state, Jews of all stripes unified as brothers, with Arabs or citizens of other religions.

Water: a fluid with life-giving force, a thin liquid even a trickle of which can assure survival. Crops, fields, land, people – we all need water. We need water for growth, for purity, for beauty, for subsistence. What do we do when water sources are depleted? We have learned not to behave like the young […]

Beautiful Site, Joy of all the Earth; two of the seventy names provided for Jerusalem.

Beautiful Site, Joy of all the Earth; two of the seventy names provided for Jerusalem.

At age 104, my mother was still concerned about her relationship with Hashem.

Erev Yom Ha’Atzmaut, 2012: As I return from a visit to my elderly mother in the northern part of Jerusalem, the bus winds its way through ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. The stone buildings along the route are colorless shades of sand and grey, some new, some old and blackened with age. Men and women rush through busy streets, expressions of pain and joy, helpless and hopeful looks defining their faces.

Turning on the news Thursday night, I expected to hear the wretched daily tally of Kassam/Grad rockets shot from Gaza to into Sderot or Ashkelon; instead, breaking news streamed across the screen about a terror attack taking place that very moment at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/joy-of-all-the-earth-meditations-on-jerusalem/2014/05/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: