A significant Jerusalem Day: You do the math


Jerusalem long art vue ville (photo credit: © Marc Israël Sellem)
Jerusalem long art vue ville
(photo credit: © Marc Israël Sellem)
■ JERUSALEM DAY is a bit like Purim in that although it has a specific Hebrew calendar date, it is celebrated before, during and after; and, unlike religious holidays, it continues through to its Gregorian calendar date and even beyond. The bottom line is that there will be a lot of celebrating in the capital, even though 45 as an anniversary number doesn’t mean much unless you do what the rabbis do with numerology and gematria to make something seemingly insignificant, significant. So here goes: Four and five is nine. Twice nine is 18, which is the gematria for life, so this particular anniversary of Jerusalem Day is imbued with life.
Although the major celebrations will take place on Sunday, May 20, several have already taken place. Among them were Singing Jerusalem, a community sing-along at the Uri Zvi Greenberg Center that was held on Wednesday, and the Hebrew University’s Journeys of the Mind, which started yesterday and will continue today.
On Sunday morning, the Temple Mount Faithful will once again try to make an ascent on the Temple Mount in a march that will leave from Ammunition Hill. At 6 p.m. there will be a meeting of the new generation of Jerusalem activists at the Smadar Cinema in the German Colony, with several speakers led by Yehuda Oppenheimer, the CEO of Ir Amim. Later in the evening, there will be a megaconcert at Sacher Park with entertainers Aviv Geffen, Berry Sakharof, Hadag Nahash, Idan Raichel, Mosh Ben-Ari and Sarit Hadad.
On the spiritual side, the chief rabbis, heads of yeshivot, religious members of political parties and other public figures will gather at Merkaz Harav, where the musical interlude will be provided by Musa Berlin and his band.
On Monday night, there will be singing and dancing in Safra Square.
Synagogues throughout the country are celebrating Jerusalem Day at Shabbat services this weekend.On Saturday at the Great Synagogue, Jerusalem-born Rabbi She’ar Yashuv Cohen, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi emeritus of Haifa, will deliver the sermon.
Cohen fought in the Old City during the War of Independence and also defended Gush Etzion. Mayor Nir Barkat is also expected to attend the service and to address the congregation.
Both Hanassi Synagogue and Hatzvi Yisrael will have a festive Shabbat celebration with the Ramatayim Men’s Choir conducted by Richard Shavei Zion. The choir will participate in a Carlebach style service on Friday night at Hatzvi Yisrael and will be at Hanassi for morning services on Saturday. In the afternoon, the choir will be back at Hatzvi Yisrael, which is hosting a special seuda shlishit (Third Meal) celebration in honor of its founding president, Prof. Hillel Blondheim, who is being conferred with the title of Distinguished Citizen of Jerusalem. In addition, there will be a guest speaker, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, who is founder and head of the Temple Institute in the Old City. He fought in the Six Day War and was among the first Israeli paratroopers to reach the Western Wall. When Rabbi Shlomo Goren, then the chief rabbi of the IDF, blew the shofar at the wall soon after it was captured, it was Ariel who recited the memorial prayer for the fallen.
■ AFTER BUILDING a supermarket empire, branching out into real estate development and then communications, Rami Levy is now embracing another project – the revitalization of Atarot, where he owns two large adjacent properties on which he intends to build a shopping mall. The question is just how many shopping malls and shopping centers can the population of Jerusalem support? Almost every neighborhood these days has a mall or a long row of shops.
By the same token, many stores are being vacated with no immediate signs of new tenants. Mayor Nir Barkat is trying to impose sanctions against foreign owners of luxury apartments.
What is he going to do about the ghost town commercial areas?