Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

Jerusalem: A Meditation, Revised

Jerusalem GettyI wrote this meditation two years before becoming a Yerushalmi, a Jerusalem resident. After living here nearly a year, the meditation no longer fully captures my relationship with this place of intense contradictions and even deeper yearnings. My goal with this revision is a slight shift in tone, while maintaining the meditation’s essential Messianic view of Jerusalem as the focal point of G-d’s relationship with the Jewish people, the place where heaven and earth touch, the place where our history meets our daily lives. What remains is a core meditation on the beauty and heartbreak of this complex place, a lovely yet somewhat melancholy meditation that can be used in private prayer, in communal worship or as an additional reading during your Passover Seder. Here are more prayers for and about Israel. Here’s a link to the original piece. I’m posting this revision in anticipation of Yom Yerushalaim, May 8, the anniversary of the reunification of the city. See also: “Rules for Being Me in Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem: A Meditation (Revised)
Jerusalem,
You are mystery and wonder,
Secrets hidden and secrets revealed.
You are beauty in the hills
And holiness in stone.

City of Peace,
Why are you still besieged by nations?
Why are you held hostage from within?
What errant flight has the white dove taken?
What mission of love and mercy
Has drawn her away from her sacred home?

Jerusalem,
You are prayers and echoes,
Questions without answer,
Yearning and hope,
Radiance and splendor,
The heartbeat of generations.

Jerusalem,
You are my journey and my destination.
You are my dream
And you are my longing.
You are my joy
And you are my sorrow.
Will you be my consolation?

© 2013 Alden Solovy and http://www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: In this revision I struggled with retaining one sentence: “Why are you still held hostage from within?” For me, this is a reference to the current state of broad (but not universal) Jewish religious intolerance and a monolithic Rabbinate that results in religious coercion and misogyny, an unabashedly politically and religiously leftist view. I understand that others may read this sentence completely differently, reading it as the question of why Israel, which controls the Temple Mount, bars Jews from praying there. A much different perspective than mine, indeed. My rationale for maintaining this vague sentence in the meditation is that these questions need to be addressed directly, publicly, without shying away from disagreements. Here are links to “Rules for Being Me in Jerusalem,” “Israel: A Meditation” and “For Peace in the Middle East.” Here are more prayers for and about Israel.

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Photo Credit: Eric Meola/ Getty Images

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