Jerusalem: millennial capital

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There is the annual vow, "Next year in Jerusalem," at the Yom Kippur service, and the rituals of the Passover Seder, a meal that relates the departure from Egypt. But it is not simply seasonal ritual or ceremony that recalls the loss of Jerusalem and its Temple -- for the devout, everything from the preparation of everyday meals to the arrangement of one's home, from birth and funeral rites to the celebration of marriage, recalls by some ritual gesture this crucial part of Jewish history. In synagogues around the world, prayers were -- and still are -- directed towards Jerusalem. The memory of the Temple lives on in the memories of Jews in the symbolic remembrance associated with the Western Wall, in reality a section of the exterior wall that held up the Temple Mount. This wall fragment has been called the Wailing Wall, because for centuries Jews came on the ninth of the month of Av to pray and remember the destroyed Temple. Moreover, a Jewish presence has been almost continually maintained in Jerusalem, whether under the domination of Byzantium, the Arabs, the Crusaders, the Mamelukes, or the Turks. The nucleus of this group was made up of pious Jews who, in accordance with their tradition, devoted their lives to study. But over the centuries, Jews have found themselves sharing their sacred city with other peoples and other faiths.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-714
Number of pages16
JournalQueens Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1996


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