Jerusalem

 

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Can it possibly be 50 years?

I was a newly married college student. We were living in Valley Station, KY, about 1/2 hour from Fort Knox where my husband served as a chaplain. We were awaiting the birth of our first child.

The tense days of May had us anxious and nervous. The Straits of Tiran were closed and Arab armies were massed on all of Israel’s borders.

We flew to a conference in Washington DC and listened to reassuring words from Hubert Humphry. But we did not feel confident. Meanwhile, inside, a new little life stirred, growing every more energetic as the days passed.

I flew to Philadelphia, My senior year of college was done at the University of Louisville- with the acquiescence of Temple University that granted my degree in philosophy, but in order to finish my degree in Hebrew Literature at Gratz College, I had to study with a local rabbi, with my husband, and on my own the same curriculum as my classmates and return to Philadelphia to take final exams.

June 5, 1967, I was sitting in the Gratz library taking my first exam when the librarian turned on the radio. I thought it was rude for her to do that while I was trying to write an exam, but then another person entered the library and they exchanged the information that the war had started.

What could I do? I wrote my exams while listening to the same news over and over again on the radio when suddenly the lights went out as did the radio and the air conditioning. Later we found out that there was a major power outage along the east coast and some wondered if it could have been related to the war.

News coverage was weak. The same news rehashed and rehashed. The Egyptians reported that they had shot down more planes than Israel had. They reported great victories. The Israel news stayed silent. None of  us knew what was happening.

After two days of exams, I sat in my parents’ house with the TV on embroidering a challah cover. I worked on it very slowly and carefully. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted it to be an heirloom- something the little baby I was waiting for would treasure.

And then the word finally came. “The Temple Mount is in our hands!” I still get tears in my eyes thinking about that most miraculous day when finally Jews could enter the city that for 19 years they had only seen from afar. I felt such a feeling of completeness. The world was being repaired. The pain was being alleviated. The scars were soon to be healed.

Days later we watched on TV the thousands and thousands of people streaming into the Old City to celebrate Shavuot. What elation I felt! My baby would only know an Israel that was whole and strong.

I returned to Fort Knox at the end of June with the challah cover and the baby mostly completed. About 6 weeks later, our son was born. My heart was full. Here was a new beginning, the embodiment of a prayer for peace.

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Comments

  1. Rhona & Bruce Sloan says:

    Per usual fantastic pictures, and wonderful prose. Kol Hakavod. Be well, hope to see you in India in October.
    Shabbat Shalom.

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