While Jerusalem Day 2013 (May 8; 28 Iyar) was celebrated throughout Jerusalem with dancing in the streets, blocked traffic, official ceremonies, and speeches singing the praises of Jerusalem and its 46-year 'reunification,' our Jerusalem campus celebrated Jerusalem Day in a new way.
At the initiative of Dr. Michal Muszkat-Barkan, Director of HUC-JIR/Jerusalem’s Department of Professional Development and Education, and Salim Yagur, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem Head of Maintenance, HUC-JIR faculty and staff members submitted photos of "My Jerusalem" - places, people, or experiences with special personal meaning to the photographer - for an exhibition in honor of Jerusalem Day. Beautiful photos from East and West Jerusalem brought to life memories, familiar landmarks, homes, shops, lifestyles, and everything in between, through the prism of each person and their own words, appearing in Hebrew and Arabic captions. Now, in the Rau Administration Building at the Jerusalem Campus, this new exhibition displays the 'bubble reality' of a truly united Jerusalem.
The day after Jerusalem Day and in the same spirit, an event was held in the Murstein Synagogue of the College-Institute to celebrate Jerusalem as we wish it to be – tolerant, respecting of 'the other,' and united in our humanity. The event was attended by our students, faculty, staff, and their family members – Israeli and Palestinian and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. Young women from East Jerusalem charmed us with their dancing and singing in Arabic. Songs were sung in Hebrew and Arabic by a student in our M.A. program. Dr. Muszkat-Barkan, in Hebrew, and Mr. Yagur, in Arabic, spoke of their vision of East and West, Jews and Arabs living without the walls that divide us, both physical and ideological.
After a day of study and work, our Jerusalem campus came together as citizens of the Jerusalem that we love, in what we hope will be the first of many similar events at HUC-JIR and, hopefully, beyond.
View more photographs here.