Here I am waiting for the pace of life to slow down. It doesn’t. From Pesach to Yom Hashoah, Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut and now a couple of Sundays of Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem day and then Shavuot. I don’t know how Israeli’s keep up. I don’t know how the supermarkets keep up, swapping their products from the dramatic matza switchover, to memorial candles and then marshmallows and portable barbecues, and then a zillion cheese varieties and cheesecakes for the festival of milk product lovers.
My favourite by far is Jerusalem Day. Maybe because it is the simplest and no food is involved.
I had never experienced Jerusalem day before we made aliyah. I’ve learned that the best way to celebrate Jerusalem day is to attend a flag dance at your child’s school or stand by on the street for the parades of school children down the train track, or in the Talpiyot shopping area.
But by far, best of all, is to attend the grand Jerusalem march from Park Gan Sacher to the Kotel. It’s the kind of march you can join at any point and though we hadn’t planned to walk all the way into the Old City, we were swept up in the singing and dancing ecstatic crowds all the way to the rocking concert at the Wailing Wall.
Youngsters from all over Israel bus in to wave their flags and celebrate the unification of Jerusalem. Every song ever written about Jerusalem from scriptures to Naomi Shemer is sung with heaving gusto. And the strength of the voices and leaping legs brings to mind what it must have been like in Temple times. People singing and dancing on pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
The feelings of youthful energetic unity was a welcome distraction from called for, new elections and disappointing politicians. These are youth who dance to the tune of gratitude and the joy of being alive. They aren’t thinking about the hotbed of politics that the very word Jerusalem can evoke. I loved the feeling of the Jerusalem streets transforming into a dance of life, of waving flags, celebrating Jerusalem as a united city for all.