Hundreds of past and present Jewish residents of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem came together yesterday for a multi-generational meeting, to celebrate 40 years since the renewal of Jewish settlement in the Jewish Quarter. Arutz Sheva spoke with several participants, who told about how life there has changed over the years.
The Jewish Quarter was liberated by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Over the course of three years, the IDF and the Jerusalem Municipality worked hard to clear the rubble, and some families arrived individually. In 1970, the Jewish community reached a critical mass and was fully launched. Since that time, the community in the Jewish Quarter has gone through much growth and change, and it now comprises over 500 families.
The meeting was spearheaded by long-time resident Amnon Shiloni, who felt that it was important to recognize the unique aspects of the founders and the foundation of the original Jewish Quarter community, who came to live amidst rubble and ruins and gradually built it up to the fully built neighborhood which it is today.
Barnea Levi Selavan, a resident of the Jewish Quarter and host of the Land Minds show on Israel National Radio, attended the event. He said, "I was very moved when Rabbi Yishayahu Hadari said, 'Our return to this very hilltop coincides with its destruction on the eighth day of Elul 1942 years ago.' To be a part of this community is an awesome privilege."
Yehoram Gaon, the well-known Israeli singer and former Jerusalem councilman, told the gathering that his grandfather had lived a very holy life in the Jewish Quarter and that for him to return to this neighborhood was not just another performance.
A clip was shown of Yehoram Gaon himself singing the classic song, 'Me'al Pisgat Har Hatzofim' (From Atop Mt. Scopus) in front of Rabbi Getz, the first rabbi of the Western Wall, with Rabbi Getz crying in his appreciation of returning to Jerusalem. When Yehoram Gaon watched the clip, he broke down in tears as well.
Among the assembled were Jewish residents and fighters from the 1948 War of Independence, who expressed their appreciation at being able to walk again in the streets of their childhood.