by Hazzan Ben Tisser
When we’re children, we’re taught to follow our dreams. We think of all the wonderful things that we wish to accomplish, to do, to taste, to experience…some of these things are realistic, while others are fantastical concoctions of a youthful imagination. While some of our childhood dreams come true, we learn as we grow up that much of the time it simply isn’t the case.
When I was young, I learned the famous quote from the father of modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl: “If you will it, it is not a dream.” We learned it as a song (you can learn it, too, by clicking here). It became something of a lesson for us – if such a big dream as having a Jewish homeland could come true, than anything is possible.
Another dream realized almost 20 years after the founding of the State was that of a unified Jerusalem; one in which Jews could freely access their most sacred sites. In June 1967, the old city was captured by brave paratroopers during the Six Day War, and for the first time in 2,000 years a city was reunited and ruled by her beloved people. THAT was a dream come true (or, to quote Fiddler on the Roof, “That was a miracle, too!”). If this isn’t something to celebrate, I’m not sure what is!
Tonight begins a holiday on the modern Jewish/Israeli calendar known as Yom Yerushalayim – the anniversary of the day the city was reunited in 1967. There are so many ways to celebrate, but perhaps none better than with a plate of Jerusalem Mixed Grill (get yours from Mizrahi!), and singing songs of Jerusalem.
I am honored to have produced a concert in partnership with the Cantors Assembly and American Friends of Magen David Adom, to both celebrate the holiday and raise funds to support the vital work of MDA on the front lines in Israel. The concert will stream at 7pm Central this evening, both on Beth El’s Facebook Page, and at www.afmda.org.
Let this Yom Yerushalayim be a reminder to us. Let us understand the great privilege it is to have a thriving and growing Jerusalem as the Jewish capital; and at the same time let us never stop dreaming of what can be, for there is so much farther we can go.
We dream of being together again, and I pray we will, soon, in good health. Today let’s re-commit to the ideal, “L’shanah Haba’ah Birushalayim” – next year, in health and in safety, in our spiritual center and the capital of our homeland, Jerusalem!
Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!