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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Celebrating Jerusalem Day!

This week Christians and Jews celebrated "Jerusalem Day." The anniversary marks the day in 1967 when Israel re-captured the city of Jerusalem.
Today -- more than forty years later -- the world is still wrestling over the outcome of that victory.
.. The Christian Broadcasting Network CBN

My family heritage dates back eight generations in Jerusalem — hundreds of years before the modern State of Israel was even established! Jerusalem truly runs through my blood and it is the only place in the world that feels like home. My connection to the days of old lays in the cobblestone pathways of Jerusalem, and it is clear to me that my ancestry and my truest identity is rooted within these ancient streets. As a Jewish woman, I know that God has clearly proclaimed through the Bible that Israel is my true home.
It is hard to believe that up until 1967 Jerusalem was not fully under Jewish rule — Jordan still controlled East Jerusalem. The Jewish people feared that the Six Day War, which was started by our Arab neighbors, would lead to the young Jewish State's demise, but in reality it was one of the first steps towards our redemption. After God performed six days of miracles for His children, the city of Jerusalem was reunited for the Jewish people and the world to witness.
Many stories from the 1967 war have been passed down through the generations, but there is one that has always stood out to me. It inspires me every day and reminds me that the prophets I read about in the Bible are ever so present in the land of our forefathers.
The Israeli soldiers who fought to free Jerusalem told of a miraculous occurrence when they first entered the Old City during the fighting in 1967. As the soldiers came through a back entrance, they stopped to pray at the grave of Samuel the prophet. Even as bullets flew overhead and Israel's enemies waged their attack, the soldiers stopped and said a quick prayer for success before they then proceeded to miraculously wrest Jerusalem from enemy hands. As it turns out, the same day Israel succeeded in reuniting Jerusalem was also the anniversary of Samuel's death.
This story of faith and prayer reminds me that in Jerusalem there is no such thing as chance — in good times and in bad, in times of war and peace, everything resonates with holiness and biblical significance. Each year that I celebrate Jerusalem Day, I thank God that I am free to worship at the Wailing Wall, visit the graves of our prophets, walk the Mount of Olives, and watch biblical prophecy being fulfilled.
This year is a special Jerusalem Day holiday for me because I am spending it with my Saba and Savta (grandmother and grandfather), who are 84 and 91 years old, respectively. They made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) last week from the U.S., and are now blessed to call Jerusalem their home. Although my grandfather was born in Jerusalem, his family left Israel at a young age and his prophetic homecoming means that there are now four generations of the Eckstein family living in our biblical homeland. I am so proud and grateful to God that my family has the amazing opportunity to take part in the biblical prophecy of the ingathering of God's children.
With blessings from the Holy Land,
Yael Eckstein

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