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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Israel Series at HebrewPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Israeli holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 19, Jerusalem Day.
Jerusalem Day - יום ירושלים (yom yerushalaim) is a national holiday celebrated on the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyar - אייר. It commemorates a battle which occurred for Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. The holiday designates the reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty.
Let’s learn how Israel celebrates its capital city- עיר בירה (ir bira).
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
What year did the Knesset sign Jerusalem Day into law?
If you don't already know, keep listening! The answer will be revealed at the end of this lesson!
Jerusalem is the capital and largest city of the State of Israel. The city is sanctified in Judaism, Christianity and Islam- יהדות, נצרות ואיסלם (yehadut natzrut ve’islam). In ancient times, it was the focal point of the Jewish people, and during the diaspora, it was what the Jewish people yearned for. On Jerusalem Day, Israel celebrates the importance of the city, organizing festive ceremonies in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel, as well as memorial ceremonies for soldiers that fought in Jerusalem during the Six-Day War - מלחמת ששת הימים (milhemet sheshet hayamim).
The official ceremony marking Jerusalem day is held on Ammunition Hill - גבעת התחמושת (giv’at ha’tachmoshet), where one of the toughest battles of the war took place. Speakers at the ceremony include, among others, the president and prime minister of the State of Israel. On the last Jerusalem Day, Israeli President Reuvin Rivlin stated in his speech that “Jerusalem has been the place we came from, and the place we're going to, for thousands of years. Nonetheless, Jerusalem doesn't only belong to its history; it belongs, first and foremost, to all of its residents.”
Jerusalem Day is also the memorial day for Ethiopian Jews who died on their way to the Land of Israel. It commemorates the 4,000 members of Beta Israel- בית ישראל (Beta israel), the Ethiopian Jewish community, who perished during the arduous journey due to exhaustion, hunger and disease. Some of them were murdered by robbers. In 2004, the State of Israel decided to officially mark this memorial day with a state ceremony that is held in Jerusalem, at the memorial erected in memory of Jewish Ethiopians who died on their way to Israel.
Jerusalem Day is not a religious holiday, but saying the Hallel -הלל which is the thanksgiving prayer, and maintaining a celebratory demeanor is an accepted practice at national religious synagogues.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
On which year was Jerusalem Day inscribed into law by the Knesset?
Jerusalem Day has been celebrated since 1968, but in 1998, the Knesset anchored Jerusalem Day in legislation through the “Jerusalem Day Law”. In recent years, there have been calls made to restore the day’s humbler dimensions, the ones that existed before the law was passed.
How was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting? Have you ever visited Jerusalem?
Leave a comment letting us know at HebrewPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson!