What Is Yom Yerushalayim? Originally published May 11-12, 2018

An Israeli national holiday, יום ירושלים or Jerusalem Day commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in June 1967. 

Interestingly, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel at the time declared Jerusalem Day a minor religious holiday to thank God for victory in the Six-Day War and for answering the 2,000-year-old prayer of “Next Year in Jerusalem.”  Beginning at sundown on Saturday, May 12th, this year, and flowing through most of our Mother’s Day, the holiday in Israel holds a lot of state ceremonies and memorial services.

According to Wikipedia, on the second day of the Six-Day War, June 7, 1967, after Israel captured the Old City, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan reportedly said:

This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour—and with added emphasis at this hour—our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem for the sake of other peoples’ holy places, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity.

So this day celebrates Jerusalem, all of Jerusalem together.  My grandfather was living there at the time, and had been planning to return to Pittsburgh.  There were rumblings of war, so he decided to stay.  He was very glad he did:  on June 20, 1967, having made his way from Haifa to The Wall in Jerusalem, he reported, “I was overwhelmed by this supreme realization of my People’s yearnings that I burst out in tears of happiness and kissed fervently the stones that were kissed smooth by so many people during so many centuries.”


Now, when is 
יוֹם פִּיטסבּוּרג?