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Remembering Jerusalem

Tags: Jerusalem, History, Arts and Culture, Music, Video, Israel Engagement, Inspiration and Hope

by Akiva Gersh

I wrote the song "Jerusalem" during the Second Intifada. I was still living in the states at the time (I made aliyah in 2004) and the constant news of suicide bombings throughout the country weighed heavy on my heart and soul. This song was my way of expressing the despair so many people were feeling during this time, mixed together with the unbroken strength and continued belief in a brighter future. For me, Jerusalem represents this eternal Jewish hope, a never-give-up attitude that is able to see past today's pain and hardship and see the better days that will one day come.

When I began teaching Jewish history at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel program in 2007, I realized that this song speaks of another time period: the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem and the first exile of the Jewish nation. I began using this song as a teaching tool to illustrate the ancient theme of the story of the Jewish people--even as darkness surrounds us, we continue to believe in the light and in the coming of better days.

By the waters of Babylon
We sat the whole night long
And sang the saddest song

Through our tears we saw visions
Of future redemption
When all will be as one

And she cries
In the night
Our holy Jerusalem
As her children
Are taken
One by one

In lands that were not our own
We tried to make a home
Though with tears our seeds were sown

So how can we still believe
That this time they won't make us leave
And things are as good as they seem

And she prays
And stands in wait
Our holy Mount Zion
For her children
To come home
One by one

And holding on to faith
And hope in a new day
We've been able to keep our way

When the new moon comes to shine
Sight will be given to the blind
And all the answers we shall find

But until
That day comes
Our holy Jerusalem
Will be there
To join us
In our tears

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Tags: Jerusalem, History, Arts and Culture, Music, Video, Israel Engagement, Inspiration and Hope