Thursday, February 9, 2017

Our Jerusalem of Gold

Nadene Goldfoot                                            
Gates of JerusalemThis is the oldest of the current gates in Jerusalem's Old City Walls. According to Jewish tradition, the Shekhinah (Divine Presence) used to appear through this gate, and will appear again when the Messiah comes (Ezekiel 44:1-3) and a new gate replaces the present one; that is why Jews used to pray for mercy at the former gate at this location.  Hence,  the name Sha'ar Harachamim the Gate of Mercy.
Oh, Jerusalem of gold, and of light and of bronze, I am the lute for all your songs.
Yerushalayim shel zahav, Veshel nechoshet veshel or, Halo lechol shirayich Ani kinor.
(Or in Hebrew means "Light."  Zahav means "gold.")

This is the chorus of a well known song in Israel about Jerusalem written by Naomi Shemer and sung by Shula Natan, among others.  It's what I learned in my Hebrew class back in 1980-81.  It's so true, because the stone used on buildings appears to look like a shimmering gold color and makes it so beautiful with that gorgeous blue sky above.  Also, here is Tamar Giladi singing with Rami Harel.

Jerusalem again the capital of Israel since 1948, is a city where 300,00 people lived in 1972.  As of 2012,  there were  809,112 in this unified city.  Jerusalem had been the capital of the Jewish nation between 1,000 BCE and 586 BCE and again between 516 BCE and 70 CE.

It has known many foreign rulers, but only for the Jews has it been the capital of the nation living in the Land.
Ariel view of Temple Mount where 1st and 2nd Temple stood, now covered over
by the Mosque of Omar, or "Dome of the Rock."  He was the 2nd Calif who ruled 634-44 when he conquered Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia.  He even then expelled the Jews from N. Arabia (Medina).  He gave Jews the dhimmi status of having to pay a poll tax to remain as 2nd class citizens in Arab countries.  The Mosque sits in the middle of the Temple area and was rebuilt by Caliph Abd al-Malik in about 738 to replace Omar's temporary one.  
The Jews of Jerusalem today are the inhabitants with the longest unbroken historical association with it, dating from the time, nearly 3,000 years ago, when King David made it his capital.  Only to the Jews has Jerusalem always been the focus of national and religious aspirations.
Located at Gan Havradim (Rose Garden) in front of the Knesset (The Israeli parliament).
The Menorah is the work of Beno Belkan, a British sculptor.
It is made of bronze and 5 meters high and 4 meters wide.
On each of the seven branches is a relief depicting events and personages from the history of the Jewish people and culture.
It was given to the State of Israel by the British Labour Party as a token of goodwill and friendship.
It is the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government, the Supreme Court, the Chief Rabbinate, the Hebrew University and the Israel Museum.  The Knesset is Israel's single chamber parliament with 120 seats, created in 1949.  All people vote 18 years of age and over.  Candidates must be above age 25.  The permanent building was opened in 1966.

The holiest shrine of the Jews in Jerusalem is the Western Wall, dating from the time of the 2nd Temple, built because Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the 1st in 586 BCE.  Jews returned in 538 BCE and rebuilt it.  Now Obama's Administration has tried to say with Resolution 2334 that we cannot enter East Jerusalem where the Wall stands.                                                      
Western (Wailing) wall at night.  
It was in 1948 that we were kept from this wall and could not return till 1967.  For 19 years, between 1948 and 1967, Jerusalem was divided in two---between Israel and Jordan.  Barbed wire and concrete walls separated the 2 parts of the city and the Jordanians forbade movement of people from one part of the city to another.  After the Six-Day War of June 5th to 11th, 1967, Jerusalem was reunified.   As for all of Israel's population in 2017, it is now 8,630,000.  Just under half of the Jewish population lives in the center of the country, either Jerusalem or Tel Aviv metropolitan areas.  60% of the Arab population lives in the north.
Jerusalem and the Central region recorded an above average growth rate of 2.5% while Tel Aviv saw one of its lowest, at 0.8%.  Tel Aviv is Israel's densest region with 7,522 people per km2Jerusalem has a density of 1,484 people per km2 and Bnei Brak is Israel's densest city with 22,145 people per km2.  Bnei Brak is an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.  By comparison, Portland, Oregon, USA's density is 1,689.2 km sq. 
The 19 years it was divided between East and West Jerusalem.
For Christians, the link with Jerusalem begin with Jesus of Nazareth and the traditional association of many places with the story of his life and death.  The holiest place for Christians is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
3rd holiest place for Moslems 
For Moslems, Jerusalem is 3rd in holiness after Mecca and Medina.  The mosque of Al Aqsa on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is one of the holiest shrines of Islam.  The Holy Places are each administered by the religious bodies to which they belong.  The Old City of Jerusalem is mainly East Jerusalem.
Police at the Temple Mount dealing with rock throwers
By 1973, Jerusalem was a thriving city of coexistence between Jews and Arabs, between members of the 3 great faiths, between the religious and secular ways of life.  Today we have seen much stone throwing by the Arabs hitting Jews, stabbings and ramming crowds with vehicles done by the Arabs.  They have been continually taught in their schools to hate Jews and their behavior is rewarded by their leaders, both monetarily and publicly, with parks and other places named for those that die in their killing sprees.

Jerusalem has had the highest rate of natural increase in Israel---22.7 per thousand.  Employment has been full, but the city is still burdened by social and economic problems.  12% of the families have had 7 or more children.  39% of the population are of school age.  There is a serious housing shortage.

To improve conditions, a large building program was being carried out in 1972 in all parts of the city, Arab and Jewish.  This created problems of how to preserve the traditional character of the city while developing it at an accelerated pace.  The Municipality exerted itself in the attempt to plan the future of the city so that a correct balance between ancient and modern was to be maintained.
Light rail, November 2011 on rainy morning
To me it looks like Portland's Max.  
One thing I missed seeing by leaving at the end of 1985 was Jerusalem's light rail.  "The first line of the Jerusalem Light Rail network was completed in 2010 with the erection of Santiago Calatrava's Chords Bridgeover Jaffa Road. The first line began operating from Pisgat Ze'ev in the northeast, throughFrench Hill and Jaffa Road to the Central Bus Station and the southwestern neighborhoods. The line was fully operational by late 2011, after several delays, with 14 trains and a maximum headway of 12 minutes.
Route 99 Tourist Bus in Jerusalem

"Jerusalem Central Bus Station is West Jerusalem's intercity bus station. The part of the city is served mainly by Egged buses, though as of 2009, a number of other companies are providing an increasing number of bus lines to and from the city also; as of 2009, Dan and Superbus also use the Central Bus Station. City buses in West Jerusalem are run by Egged, which runs close to 100 bus lines throughout the city and its suburbs. A map of the various lines may be accessed on MobileMe."
Jerusalem's history is all recorded in  the Bible.  "Jerusalem shall be called the city of truth." (Bible, Zechariah, 8, 3)   Jerusalem, which is bound firmly together.  (Bible, Psalms, 122,3)  Eternity means Jerusalem. (Talmud, Berakhot, 58);  There is no beauty like the beauty of Jerusalem.  (Avot Derabbi Nathan, Talmudic Commentary).

Facts About Israel, , Division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem. 


  1. beautiful music! loved it!

    glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. selah. Ps 87:3

  2. Oh thank you much, Andre. I'm so glad you loved this music. You found another quote about Jerusalem. Wonderful! I had no idea all those other pieces were on the youtube tape. They also were favorites of mine. That was a special treat.