it is good to see that we have taken another step forward, however small, towards reasserting the exercise of basic Jewish rights on the Temple Mount
With so much upheaval around us, here is a bit of good news that should lift our spirits as we prepare to mark Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
In a rare gesture, Israel's police allowed hundreds of yeshiva students to ascend the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Monday. Normally, of course, the police place heavy restrictions on the numbers of those allowed up on the Mount, the most sacred site in the world for Jews.
The students are from the Birkat Moshe yeshiva in the town of Maaleh Adumim, and they underwent special purification processes before entering the area of the Mount, where the two Holy Temples once stood.
Generally speaking, the police bar large groups of Jews from going up on the Mount for fear of how the Palestinians will react. But Monday's event passed peacefully, and there were no riots or anything of the sort - which just goes to show that there is no reason why such visits by Jews can not become a regular occurrence.
Of course, the police still prevented the yeshiva students from praying on the Mount or bringing prayer books with them lest it "offend" Muslim sensibilities. But nonetheless it is good to see that we have taken another step forward, however small, towards reasserting the exercise of basic Jewish rights on the Temple Mount.
With the approach of Yom Kippur - May the entire House of Israel be inscribed, signed and sealed in the Book of Life for a year of health, peace and prosperity, and may this year herald the Ingathering of all our Exiles and their return to Zion and Jerusalem. Amen.