Avraham Schechter remembers.
He was one of the first chayalim (Israeli soldiers) to enter the Old City of Jerusalem after its liberation. In a recent telephone interview, Avraham - now 70 years old - passionately described his emotions as he stood at The Wall that very first time. The Wall which he had only heard about from his father and older brother (who were able to go there before it was taken from us in 1948). The Wall which he had longed to experience for himself. Avraham vividly remembers - and will never forget - the magic of that moment.
I was nine years old as I sat in the auditorium of my elementary school with my fellow fourth graders as our principal explained what would soon become known for all time as the Six Day War. He led us in prayer for the safety of our brethren in Israel. I couldn't quite grasp the details of what was going on but I thought about my aunt, uncle and cousins who lived there. And I knew this was big. Really big. When I Remember Jerusalem, that memory is my very first.
all of us brand new citizens of the State and proud Toshavei Yerushalayim - "permanent residents" of the holy City.
Despite my current geographical distance, my love of the Land, the City and The Wall continues to grow since that earliest memory 50 years ago. And my gratitude to the Almighty for granting us the gift that we celebrate today continues to deepen.
Now the torch is being passed as I watch my married couples take their places at The Wall.
My Wall. Their Wall. Everyone's Wall.
Happy Yom Yerushalayim to you!
Mazal Tov on a half-century of reunifying, rebuilding and rejoicing in the miracle we witnessed 50 years ago today. May we all soon merit the ultimate redemption, rebuilding and rejoicing - and the reunion of the Jewish Nation coming Home from every corner of the globe. Home to stay.