Yom Yerushalayim by Rabbi Sandra Kochman

“…”שִׂישׂוּ אֶת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, גִּלּוּ בָּהּ כָּל-אוֹהֲבֶיהָ

Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her! (Based on Isaiah 66:10)

If we ask ourselves WHAT is it that we celebrate on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), we immediately think of the historical, political and religious reasons.

But I prefer to ask how come we only celebrate ONE Jerusalem day, because for me, living in Jerusalem is a unique celebration each and every day.

I celebrate every day with my neighbors—both native born, and from many other countries; of various ages, ethnicities, political identities and religious backgrounds.

And I celebrate every moment with my coworkers, be they Jewish, Muslim or Christian.

I celebrate every sunrise in my own little corner of the Kotel—the one that draws no distinctions or separations—when you can still hear the silence before the families arrive to pray and celebrate together.

And I celebrate every morning in the Old City, when you can hear the sounds of the Shofar, the Muezzin performing the call to prayer and the church bells ringing at the same time.

I celebrate the respite of the cool sunsets after a sweltering summer day and I celebrate those rare days when the snow paints a beautiful layer of white over the city’s traditional and historical golden hue.

This year as we celebrate the first 70 years of independence for the State of Israel and Jerusalem as its eternal capital we reflect on has happened and continues to happen in the country throughout these years.

And though it is neither easy nor is it simple to live in a place that is as tense as it is magical, as a citizen of this city and this country we desire that instead of confronting us, we can learn from the diversity and pluralism of our society. That diving us and sowing the seeds of dissension, that we will always have more reasons to celebrate together.

From Yerushalayim, Ir HaShalom, The City of Peace,

Rabbi Sandra Kochmann

Born in Paraguay, she received her Rabbinic Ordination from the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano Marshall T. Meyer in 2000. Since November 2005 she has lived in Jerusalem, Israel where she works at the Masorti Community in the Bet HaKerem Neighborhood and at the Masorti Movement as the Coordinator of Weddings, Conversions and the Kotel’s egalitarian “Ezrat Israel” plaza.