It has to be part of the Divine plan that Jerusalem was reunited just a week before the Shavuot holiday fifty-one years ago. As I stood at the Kotel Plaza on Jerusalem Day, this past Sunday morning, I sensed the history of my people on my shoulders.
There were my grandparents and great-grandparents who recited Next year in Jerusalem but never really believed they would arrive here. There were the brave souls who managed to make it to the Holy Land and prayed in the tiny alley in front of the Kotel, forbidden to sit in a chair, have a mehitza*, or blow a shofar. There were the Jews who for nineteen years following the War of Independence could only try and catch a glimpse of the Kotel from the rooftops of buildings on what was then the Jordanian border. There were the paratroopers, along with Rabbi Goren, zt”l, who liberated the Wall in 1967, their faces filled with wonder as they looked up at the holy stones. And there were my Israeli-born friends who clearly remember walking to the Kotel on that very special Shavuot fifty-one years ago.