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Reflections on Jerusalem

Friday, December 8, 2017

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States would officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and begin plans to build a new embassy there.  Not surprisingly, world reaction spanned the full range of emotion, from jubilation to condemnation.  Whatever opinion one takes of President Trump, this decision, or the timing of it, one must keep several facts in mind.

- Jerusalem is the holiest city to only one religion - Judaism.  For Christianity that place is Rome and for Islam it is first, Mecca and second, Medina.  

- Jerusalem is never mentioned by name in the Koran

- Mentioned over 660 times in the Tanach, Jerusalem has been at the center of Jewish thoughts and prayers for thousands of years.

- It has only been under Jewish rule that members of all faiths have been able to pray at their holy sites in freedom.

- The Jewish people have recognized Jerusalem as their capital since King David founded it over 3000 years ago. That is 1000 years before Christianity and more than 1600 years before Islam.

Psalm 137 states ‘If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither; let my tongue stick to my palate if I cease to think of you, if I do not keep Jerusalem in memory even at my happiest hour.’

At TanenbaumCHAT we strive to educate our students about their Jewish roots and connections to Israel with its complexities as well as the global Jewish community in all its diversity.  Our Jewish History faculty will be leading discussions with their classes on this and allow for respectful discussion and debate.

Let us all hope that the spiritual centrality of Jerusalem remains foremost in our hearts as we witness this new chapter in Jewish History.