Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yom Yerushalayim is coming!- Celebrate by helping cure cancer!

As we approach Yom Yerushalayim (May 12) we remember the day in 1967 when Jerusalem was united, and all people had equal access to the Old City, and the holy Western Wall.
Here is a transcript of then Defense Minister Moshe Dayan's address following the unification of the city:
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.

Many, many songs have been written about Jerusalem, and we are proud to present some from our present collection, in honor of this year's Yom Yerushalayim.

This classic version of "Yerushalayim", by Avigdor HaMeiri, was recorded by the young and talented Alex Halpern (who was recently married, in Jerusalem!!) and Ayelet Argamon.

This is Alex, under the chuppa last month:

Here is some background on the song:

Avigdor HaMeiri (1890-1970), a Hungarian immigrant who arrived in Tel Aviv in 1921, composed the text for Yerushalayim for use in a 1929 production of his satirical theater known as HaKumkum (The Coffee Pot). Hameiri was one of the earliest voices to castigate the nascent yishuv for not reaching the lofty ideals embodied in its Jewish roots. The original version of the song, set to an anonymous Yiddish folk song, contained four verses. The second, true to its original satirical purpose, included the pioneer’s lament that, although he had arrived with a full heart and great enthusiasm, “How can I rebuild your Temple if there is no peace among your children?” The verse describes the different communities of Sephardic, Ashkenazic, dark-skinned and light-skinned, religious and non-religious Jews, and the in the chorus, the singer cries “Jerusalem, I did not envision this in my dream; Jerusalem, restore peace among your children.” The song was appropriated by the Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael in 1930 for use in its public relations campaign to raise awareness of – and funding for – the nascent yishuv, and thus achieved great fame throughout the Diaspora. In its wisdom, though, the Agency excluded that critical second verse (and the original third verse, as well), preserving only the lofty sentiments of the opening and closing stanzas. It is this version of the song which still encourages Jews around the world to turn toward the Holy City and to be inspired by its spiritual history, as well as the enormous accomplishments of its builders. (MBE)

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