It is, like the nation itself, a miracle.

Filled with Muslim, Jewish and, Christian citizens, Jerusalem is nevertheless a predominantly Jewish city. Like a microcosm of the Diaspora, these Jews range from secular to Modern Orthodox to haredi. Jerusalem comes to a rest on the Sabbath day as commerce in the city closes down as per Israeli law. Yiddishkeit is such an inextricable part of the city’s culture that even secular Jews regularly have Shabbat dinners.


The emblems of Judaism are omnipresent, from the garb of religious Jews to six-pointed stars adorning synagogues, from the Jerusalem stones that are legally mandated components of the city’s buildings to festive symbols of Jewish holidays such as costumed revelers ambling merrily down Ben Yehuda Street on Purim or the ubiquitous sukkahs outside homes on Sukkot.

And of course the city is host to some of Judaism’s and Israel’s most holy sites as well as most important organizations, all of which add up to a Jewish sum greater than it parts. Indeed, Jerusalem is a vibrant metropolis where one can be as Jewish as one wants, openly and proudly, loudly and fiercely.

The indisputable conclusion, therefore, is that New York City is no longer the greatest Jewish city in the world. That title belongs once again to a dazzlingly reborn Jerusalem in a miraculously resurrected Jewish state.


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Harvey Rachlin, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is an award-winning author of thirteen books including “Lucy’s Bones, Sacred Stones, and Einstein’s Brain,” which was adapted for the long-running History Channel series “History’s Lost and Found.” He is also a lecturer at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York.