The “shehecheyanu” blessing is a simple, ancient prayer of thanksgiving that thousands of Jews say each day in Jerusalem, as well as around the world: “Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.”There is nothing unusual about this prayer. It is recited by some when they give birth, others when they buy a new house, and still others when they eat the first fruits of the season. But it was definitely unusual hearing it recited in Jerusalem on Thursday – in Hebrew – by German President Walter-Frank Steinmeier. Unusual, and remarkable. Think about it for a minute. Here was the president of Germany, a nation that during the lifetime of many still walking among us, tried to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth. And there was Germany's president, standing in the historic capital of the Jewish people, in their reborn and independent state, thanking God that he was able to “reach this occasion.”Hearing those words, I could only thing about my maternal German grandparents, deported to their death in the Lodz ghetto, and what they would have thought had they been told in 1940 that a German president would someday be thanking God in the capital of the Jewish state for being able to address their descendants and express deep sorrow and regret for what his ancestors did. It was a truly stunning moment in a day that was not exactly an ordinary day in the neighborhood.Beginning with Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting at the Prime Minister's residence with the mother of Naama Issachar, running through the monument erected in a central Jerusalem park to honor Russian resilience during World War II, continuing with Britain's Prince Charles planting a tree at the President's residence, and culminating with US Vice President Mike Pence placing a note in the crevices of the Western Wall, Thursday was a day like few others in a city that has borne witness to its share of memorable days.This was a day where much was on display: Israeli politics, since an event with so many world leaders will surely be used by the Likud on behalf of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the current election campaign. Eastern European politics, with Putin taking a swipe at the Lithuanians and Latvians and Ukrainians, saying that in the countries the Nazis invaded, such as theirs, the cruelty of the local accomplices often excelled that of the Nazis themselves.And there was international politics, with Pence signaling Iran out in his speech.“We must also stand strong against the leading state purveyor of antisemitism, against the one government in the world that denies the Holocaust as a matter of state policy and threatens to wipe Israel off the map,” he said. “The world must stand strong against the Islamic Republic of Iran."There were also poignent moments, such as when President Reuven Rivlin choked up speaking about the debt Israel owes the survivors, and when some of the most powerful and influential leaders in the world stood at rapt attention for the singing of Hatikvah.“Auschwitz and Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “An abyss, and a peak. Auschwitz, extermination; Jerusalem, revival. Auschwitz, enslavement; Jerusalem, freedom. Auschwitz, death; Jerusalem, life.”Auschwitz, Netanyahu continued, “is also the ultimate symbol of Jewish powerlessness. It is the culmination of what can happen when our people have no voice, no land, no shield. “Today, we have a voice, we have a land and we have a shield. Today, our voice is heard in the White House and in the Kremlin, in the halls of the United Nations and the American Congress, in London, Paris and Berlin, and in countless capitals around the world.”And to all that, essentially, Steinmeier gave thanks to God for the opportunity to witness.