50 Ways to Celebrate Jerusalem’s 50th Birthday

Jerusalem is unquestionably one of the oldest cities in the world, dating back to the Chalcolithic Period

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רבבות בתפילת יום ירושלים בכותל
רבבות בתפילת יום ירושלים בכותל
צילום: אריה מינקוב

Jerusalem is unquestionably one of the oldest cities in the world, dating back to the Chalcolithic Period (4500-3200 BCE). Yes, Jerusalem is so old that we can’t put a date to its beginnings. So why 50? The city of Jerusalem as we know it today was reunified after the capture of the old city and eastern section, 50 years ago this year.

Want to celebrate from home? Here are 50 creative ways you can celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem from anywhere in the world!

Donate

MADA - Magen David Adom's Jerusalem branch provides vital services to the city’s residents and visitors and are a crucial player in helping during terrorist attacks.
Yad Sarah has two branches in Jerusalem where they provide residents with medical equipment for loan, an important service – one in two Israeli families have used Yad Sarah!
Shalva in Jerusalem provides quality care for children with disabilities, empowering their families, and promoting social change. Non-denominational and free of charge, Shalva's programs range from infancy to adulthood.
Yad Vashem: Established in 1953 on Mount Hertzl, Yad Vashem is the most famous and comprehensive memorial and museum dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust. You may visit Yad Vashem free at any time of the year.
Pitchon Lev works to eradicate poverty and hunger in Jerusalem and Israel and relies on volunteers, supporters and donations to help the neediest communities in Jerusalem.

Pray

The “Amida” prayer (literally meaning “Standing”) is Judaism’s central prayer and should always be recited while facing Jerusalem and includes the passage: "And to Jerusalem your city may you return....Blessed are you, builder of Jerusalem."
Psalms embrace Jerusalem as a central theme and we love Psalm 122:6: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you!”
You may want your own personal copy of a prayer book, or want to send a special and thoughtful gift to someone close to you.
If you are lucky enough to live in Israel or be visiting during this special celebration, then why not take this opportunity to visit the “Kotel HaMa’aravi” or the Western Wall and place a note to G-d between its ancient stones, or enjoy some spiritual solitude and quiet prayer at this holiest of places in the heart of Jerusalem.
Find some time in your home during your busy daily routine to stop and regroup and make your own personal peaceful time for a short and meaningful prayer.

Discover Jerusalem Stone

Get jeweled up in stone. Jerusalem Stone jewelry is the perfect natural radiance for unique earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets.
The Priestly Blessing, “yevarechecha adonai veyishmarecha - may God bless you and guard you” is from the Temple that once stood in Jerusalem and is a well-loved blessing for necklaces and pendants on the tablet-like stone.
Tallit clips to hold a precious tallit in place are even more meaningful when crafted from Jerusalem stone – always ready to bring up the memory of Jerusalem.
Candlesticks become a beloved family keepsake and you can find a wide selection of both modern and traditional Shabbat candlesticks made from authentic Jerusalem stone to have a little piece of this magical city in your own home.
Finally, if simplicity is your muse, perhaps a sleek Jerusalem stone mezuzah case for your front door would be your product of choice to join in with the celebrations!

Learn

The Israel Museum contains the famous Dead Sea Scrolls and is the most famous museum in Israel. You will need to set aside a whole day for this museum in order to have time to enjoy all the information and exhibits.
The Tower of David Museum celebrates the history of Jerusalem and boasts a unique night time exhibition lighting up the walls of the city.
If you are interested in learning about the Biblical history of the city, then the Bible Lands Museum is the one for you. With educational programs, special exhibitions and family days, the Bible Lands Museum promises to be a great day out while visiting Jerusalem.
The Museum of Islamic Art is an absolute must for Art fans visiting the city and this year, the museum has an exclusive exhibition of watches – and permanent exhibitions of embroidery, pottery, jewelry, weaponry and more.
For a unique and unusual experience, try the Museum of Underground Prisoners, cleverly showing the history of the fighters of the Haganah, Etzel and Lehi people who had been captured by the British on various actions, while fighting against foreign rule.

Wear Your Jerusalem Pride

A shirt featuring the number 50 with an iconic Jerusalem image would make a wonderful gift to celebrate Jerusalem’s birthday with pride. You only turn 50 once!
A patriotic design featuring an Israeli flag or a symbol of peace in 3 languages is another way to wear your shirt and show off your Jerusalem Pride.
A shirt featuring the US flag and Israel flag are a favorite.
Shirts in Hebrew are great and there are plenty relating to Jerusalem. For example, the Israel Museum store has one featuring all the names of Jerusalem or you can get the name Jerusalem in stylized Hebrew.
Lion. Lion of Zion. What they’re probably talking about is the Lion of Judah, a symbol of Jerusalem. Roar your pride with a lion tee shirt, sweat shirt, or hoodie.
You studied at Hebrew U? OK, so maybe you didn’t… but who says you can’t show your Jerusalem pride with some college tees?

Build Something

Laser cut tabernacles and arks are available for the adventurous crafter among you – many of these kits create attractive and long-lasting results. Recreate ancient Jerusalem in your home.
Do-it-yourself mosaic kits like the mosaics of Jerusalem are a wonderful craft, featuring Stars of David and Menorahs.
If you love building and want something to remind you of iconic Jerusalem landmarks, then you can find detailed and intricate models of places such as the Cave of the Patriarchs to build yourself.
OK, so you’re not really making it yourself, but what about a personalized gift from Jerusalem? This name necklace company is based in Jerusalem and has all kinds of styles.
Wall hangings with Jerusalem prayers are very popular, but who says you need to buy one? Creating your own special Jerusalem prayer to hang is a great idea for kids and crafters.

Wear Jerusalem Jewelry

The Lion of Judah is an iconic Jerusalem image and pendants are available with various designs on this theme in sterling silver and gold including trendy “Pandora”-style charms, for long lasting keepsakes.
The Western Wall, arguably the most recognizable feature of Jerusalem appears as a design on many pieces of jewelry, from intricate “Chai” pendants to masculine rings with stones.
The 7-branched Jerusalem Menorah with its vintage feel is a popular image for jewelry and you can find designs ranging from Sterling Silver rings to pendants with precious stones.
Jerusalem stone is a much-loved material used in jewelry and there is a wide range to choose from including young designs for Bar or Bat Miztvah gifts, or unusual stone and silver pendants for a stand-alone piece of artistic jewelry.
Jerusalem prayer is a feature of Judaica jewelry too and you can find very special and spiritual examples including silver hamsas with engraved prayers and Jewish-style gold rings with an internal blessing.

Read

“Jerusalem – Stone and Spirit” by Dan Bahat and Shalom Sabar is a wonderfully visual and vibrant coffee table book presenting the magnificent past of Jerusalem, from the days of King David to the twentieth century, with the help of images of rare and breathtaking beauty and detailed historical descriptions.
“Understanding the Alphabet of The Dead Sea Scrolls” By Ada Yardeni documents the graphic evolution of the “Jewish” letter forms as seen in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
“Jerusalem in the Year 30AD” by Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer offers an illuminating insight into the holy city's previous incarnations through archaeological discoveries.
“Fragments of Memory. From Kolin To Jerusalem” By Hana Greenfield is an anthology of nineteen haunting but touching narratives which take the reader into the heart of a young teenage girl as she endures the Nazi death camp system.
“The Jerusalem Book of Quotations: A 3,000-Year Perspective” By Jack Friedman brings together the kaleidoscopic impressions and perspectives of a representative group of those who have responded to the wonder of the Holy City from the biblical period to the present: Jews, Christians, and Muslims; pilgrims as well as skeptics, travelers, conquerors, scholars, and statesmen.

VIRTUAL VISIT

Jerusalem in My Heart – This Facebook page is Jerusalem-only good news, history, and positivity every single day of the year. It’s like a daily digest for Jerusalem lovers.
Virtualjerusalem.com - in under a minute, you can be transported to the Holy City of Jerusalem in the comfort of your own home. Sit back and enjoy LIVE footage from the beautiful Western Wall.
Jerusalem.com have several amazing virtual tours to choose from – be transported straight from your living room to historical Jerusalem sites.
VRJerusalem offer an incredible virtual tourist experience through your screen – from the Western Wall, through the old city.
KotelCameras offer virtual views of the Western Wall (Kotel) allowing you to pray in peace from the comfort of your own home.

YOU ONLY TURN 50 ONCE

Happy birthday Jerusalem, wishing you many, many more! Please leave more items and feedback in comments… and if you still don’t feel the good vibes and ready to celebrate, give this song Jerusalem by Matisyahu a listen and I bet you’ll be ready now!




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