Sunday, June 19, 2011
I am a Jerusalemite
I envy my two youngest daughters one thing in their lives.
When they fill out any standard form, at the question ‘birthplace’ – they can write - Jerusalem.
That’s something I’ll never be able to say, even though I’m proud to be able to give Jerusalem as my address today. I am a Jerusalemite by choice – they are by birth.
However, not everyone feels constrained by reality when stating their birthplace.
In 1966 Shmuel Yosef ( Shai) Agnon was awarded the Nobel prize in Literature and in his acceptance speech at the Nobel banquet he said:
"As a result of the historic catastrophe in which Titus of Rome destroyed Jerusalem and Israel was exiled from its land, I was born in one of the cities of the Exile. But always I regarded myself as one who was born in Jerusalem."
A copy of ‘the sacking of Jerusalem’ on Titus’ Arch in Rome, on display at the Diaspora Museum.
I understand how he felt.
We named our first daughter who was born here, Shulamit which comes from the three letters shin, lamed and mem from the name Yerushelayim, the Hebrew for Jerusalem.
Since then we have been blessed with many grandchildren who will be able to fill in ‘Jerusalem’ when asked for their birthplace.
We pray that their number will increase and that from now onwards we shall remain in our homeland, with Jerusalem it’s capital ,and that the streets will be filled with the happy sounds of Jewish children learning and playing.