A Second Day of Yom Yerushalayim

Yesterday, I had the privilege to celebrate Yom Yerushalayim in the Old City of Jerusalem. Today, I had the privilege to attend the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem and got to celebrate a second day of Yom Yerushalayim.

From being handed a hi-tech cup of water that was generated from the air (an Israeli innovation) to the police escorting our bus to the cool swag, everyone in attendance was extremely excited and moved by the experience. Some even came to Israel just for the day.

Prime Minister Netanyahu exhorted the crowd, “Remember this moment! This is history!” When Ambassador David Friedman announced, “Welcome to the US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel!” the crowd went wild! It felt like a second day of Yom Yerushalayim!

Why is the opening of the embassy in Jerusalem such a big deal?

Jerusalem inspires us and gives us pride.

Jerusalem encompasses the past, present, and future of the Jewish people. It is the place towards which Jews have – literally and figuratively- directed their hearts for millennia. Jerusalem is the place where we have the strongest possibility for connection with God and Judaism. (It’s like the spot where the WiFi is strongest.)

Jerusalem is the capital of Judaism and the Jewish people. To borrow Pastor John Hagee’s term, Jerusalem is the heartbeat of Israel.

Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the opening of the embassy makes our heart beat faster.

The opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem is a moment of pride in the fact that America has taken a tangible step towards acknowledging what we know in our hearts: Jerusalem is our capital. We know how important Jerusalem is; it’s nice to see that validated by the world’s lone superpower.

Today’s embassy opening hasn’t made our lives easier. At the same time, it reinforces the fact that the Jewish people and State of Israel are making progress.

Namsich hal’ah! Let us continue forward in our Jewish mission.

Happy Second Day of Yom Yerushalayim!

About the Author
Rabbi Elie Weinstock is Senior Rabbi of the Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach in Long Island and serves as President of the New York Board of Rabbis. A believer in a Judaism that is accessible to all, he prefers "Just Judaism" to any denominational label.