SUNDOWN TUESDAY, MAY 11: Some Jews commemorate the newest edition to the Hebrew calendar on Yom Yerushalayim, also known as Jerusalem Day. As one of the four holidays added to the Jewish calendar in the 20th century, Yom Yerushalayim is the youngest, added only in 1967 to mark the unification of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty. (Read more at MyJewishLearning.) After thousands of years of waiting, the Jews finally reclaimed what is considered to be the holiest city in Judaism during the Six Day War, in 1967.
The future of Jerusalem is a red-hot topic of debate internationally—even among Jews. Last month, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, author of “Night,” took out full-page ads in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune and New York Times. In his ad space, Wiesel addressed the Obama administration, voicing his opinion that American political pressure will not result in a solution to the “issue” of Jerusalem. (Aish.com has the full text of the letter.) Meanwhile, Palestinians regard Jerusalem as the future hub of their own independent nation, someday. Intense struggles rage over decisions to expand Israeli living areas in eastern Jerusalem. Even some Israelis privately question political decisions about Jersualem.
Nevertheless, this is a special, festive day in Jewish communities. Jews dance and sing in the streets, colorful parades fill the city and many Jews make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. (Find out more at Wikipedia.) Special prayers are recited in synagogues; Jews pray at the Western Wall—and schoolchildren spend the week learning about the significance of Jerusalem. (Jewish Virtual Library has details.)
(By ReadTheSpirit columnist Stephanie Fenton)
(NOTE: To see more short articles about upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries, click the “RTS Magazines” tab at the top of this page and select “Religious Holidays.”)