Midreshet Shalhevet celebrated the upcoming 50th anniversary of Yom Yerushalayim at its Ninth Annual Scholarship Dinner on Sunday, May 7, at Temple Hillel in North Woodmere.
“We honor Jerusalem because [it] is at the very heart of our school mission,” said Menahelet Esther Eisenman. “We teach support and advocacy for the state of Israel, and we recognize that the Torah of Jerusalem has shaped our limud Torah. It is incumbent upon us, at the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, to pay attention to this miracle that has become part of the fabric of our lives.”
The evening opened with a moving video showing some of the highlights of the Six Day War. Assistant Principal Shaindy Lisker began the evening’s presentation with welcoming remarks and introduced Rosh Mesivta Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman, who spoke about the importance to world Jewry of the victory in 1967, how the hashgacha of Hashem was manifest and reinstilled Jewish pride within the greater world Jewish community.
Rabbi Friedman read excerpts of letters written by Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank and Rav Kahaneman of Poneveitz zt”l, both of whom spoke about the nisim and geula that Klal Yisrael experienced.
He recounted how people who were previously embarrassed to wear a kippah to work, after the Six Day War, all of a sudden put them on. He said that 1967 was a turning point in Torah that would flourish from Jerusalem and nourish us in America.
Menahelet Eisenman then took the floor and spoke about Naomi Shemer’s iconic song, “Yerushalayim shel Zahav.” Even 50 years later, the song stands almost as a second Israeli national anthem. The soldiers sang it as they prepared to enter the Old City on June 6, 1967, and again at victory. Naomi Shemer, along with everyone in the country, was listening to the news and heard the broadcast of the victory in the Old City, “Har Habayit Byadeinu.” She heard the soldiers singing her song and immediately revised it, adding a stanza about the return to Jerusalem. Her evocative lyrics underscore both the pain of exile, and the joy of reunification.
Eisenman then introduced Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive vice president emeritus of the Orthodox Union, who discussed the importance of Yom Yerushalayim to those of us living in the United States.
Using the writings of Rav Kook, Rabbi Weinreb considered the differences between Zion and Jerusalem. The name Zion refers to something distinct, and is usually associated with har (mountain), suggesting that Zion stands for something rigorous and unchanging. This represents the unique connection between Am Yisrael and G-d. Jerusalem, on the other hand, refers to all nations both looking towards and being seen in Jerusalem, in keeping with the vision of Yeshayahu HaNavi, when he says “Ki beiti, beit Tefila yikrah likol ha’amim” (my house will be a house of prayer for all nations).
Midreshet Shalhevet’s supporters recognize the school’s remarkable impact in Jewish high school education, and as a major force in growing and strengthening our Jewish future through the success of its graduates.
Rep. Kathleen M. Rice, sent a Certificate of Special Recognition, commenting that “Midreshet Shalhevet is making an outstanding contribution to the Five Towns community in raising the women, and leaders, of tomorrow. The eternal flame of Jerusalem was rekindled 50 years ago. Midreshet Shalhevet is carrying on that same tradition: the flame of learning is bright.”
Junior Gabriella Koegel, of Brooklyn, recently wrote on the topic of what Jerusalem means to me.
“When I think about Jerusalem, I think of the thousands of years that my ancestors prayed facing East, hoping to one day pray at the Kotel,” she wrote. “I think of the paratroopers who lost their lives in 1967 without knowing that Har Habayit will be ‘beyadenu’ just a few short minutes later, and all the others who sacrificed themselves to create our homeland. My love for Jerusalem is built by all these great people before me.”
Source: Midreshet Shalhevet