Comfort, Comfort My People, Says the Lord...Isaiah 40:1

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Jerusalem of Gold
Yerushalayim Shel Zahav

This song, written by Naomi Shemer in 1967, is often referred to as the second national anthem of the State of Israel. Indeed, after the Six Day War, a bill was introduced to the Knesset to replace Ha Tikvah with "Jerusalem of Gold" as the national anthem, but it was never passed.

The original song was written for the Israeli Music Festival on May 15, 1967, the night after Israel's 19th Independence Day, and describes the Jewish people's 2000-year longing to return to Jerusalem. It was sung by a Shuli Natan, who worked for the army as a Hebrew teacher for immigrant women.

At the time of the music festival, the Old City, including the Western Wall, was under Jordanian rule. Jews were prohibited from entering, and many of the holy sites had been desecrated. About three weeks after "Jerusalem of Gold" was performed, the Six Day War broke out on June 5. The song became the battle cry and morale booster for the Israeli troops. On June 7, Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem and the Old City. Shemer traveled there to encourage the soldiers, and when she heard the paratroopers singing "Jerusalem of Gold" at the Western Wall, she wrote the final verse, which turned the lament in verse 2 into rejoicing.

Jerusalem was reunified!


Lyrics in English
Translated by Yael Levine

The mountain air is clear as wine
And the scent of pines
Is carried on the breeze of twilight
With the sound of bells.
And in the slumber of tree and stone
Captured in her dream
The city that sits solitary
And in its midst is a wall.

Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs.

How the cisterns have dried
The market-place is empty
And no one frequents the Temple Mount
In the Old City.
And in the caves in the mountain
Winds are howling
And no one descends to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho.

Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs.

But as I come to sing to you today,
And to adorn crowns to you
I am the smallest of the youngest of your children
And of the last poet.
For your name scorches the lips
Like the kiss of a seraph
If I forget thee, Jerusalem,
Which is all gold...

Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs.

We have returned to the cisterns
To the market and to the market-place
A shofar calls out on the Temple Mount
In the Old City.
And in the caves in the mountain
Thousands of suns shine -
We will once again descend to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho!

Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs.

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Picture Below:

Celebration at the Western Wall

Western Wall

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