Today is June 16, 2019 -
The Six Day War–I remember it like it happened just 50 years ago.
I have to say that I was not the community-minded Zionist that I am today, and 50 years ago, I was completely absorbed with my own life. In fact, when the Six Day War broke out on June 5, 1967, my mother and I both had recently gone home after a few days in St. Peters Hospital, and neither of us had Israel on our minds.
On June 7, when Israeli soldiers entered the Old City and emotionally declared, “har ha’bayit b’yadeinu” (the Temple Mount is in our Hands), I was in Albany listening to my family, friends, and mohel (one trained in the practice of brit milah) pray that I should live a life of Torah, chupah (wedding canopy), and ma’aseem tovim (good deeds). Even though we read in Psalms that we should always elevate Jerusalem above our greatest joy, I wasn’t there yet.
I actually do remember (sort of) the Yom Kippur War. I remember my father sitting on the edge of his bed watching the news coverage of the war on his black and white 13-inch television. As a six-year-old, I really could not distinguish between a war and a football game, and I remember innocently asking, “Daddy, who’s winning?”
All joking aside, I can only imagine the plethora of emotions that Jews around the world were feeling at this time 50 years ago–the pride, joy, and excitement–that many of us Zionists continue to feel today.
Composer and performer Sam Glaser added an English verse in his rendition of Naomi Shemer’s “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” that beautifully captures my feelings about Jerusalem:
“Jerusalem of golden sunlight, the focus of our prayers. To you we bring our hopes and wonder for every tear we share. In raging battle, we defend you; for times of peace, we strive. Inside the walls of your old city, our people come alive.”