The city that beats with billions of hearts.
By Dovi Weider
The most special place in Jerusalem for me is the lookout from the Petzal Tower, which is in the Tower of David. Just above the Jaffa Gate, there is a fortress where almost everyone who ruled Jerusalem sat, and its topographic location made it the perfect place to defend the city.
The tallest tower in the citadel was built in the days of King Herod the Great, King of Judah, from 37 BC to 4 BC, along with two other towers that did not survive.
The incredible view that unfolds at your feet makes this place so unique.
Looking east, one sees the marvellous golden dome, beneath which is the foundation stone, a place considered to be the Axis Mundi - the navel of the world and a gateway between earth and sky. According to Jewish tradition, this is where the binding of Isaac took place and where the Ark of the Covenant was placed, in the Holy of Holies. According to Muslim tradition, this is where Muhammad ascended to heaven on his night journey, and then he received from Allah the commandment of prayer.
Looking slightly south, you see the grey domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. According to Christian traditions, within it is the Calvary (Golgotha), the place where Jesus was crucified and also the place where he was buried. Very close to the church is the minaret of the Umar Mosque; according to Muslim tradition, when the Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab arrived in Jerusalem, he was invited by the patriarch to pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Umar refused because he did not want his prayer to make the place sacred to Muslims. Instead, he chose to pray outside the church, and where he prayed, a mosque bearing his name was erected.
Looking slightly north, you see the Armenian Quarter. The Armenians were the first people to convert to Christianity as a nation at the beginning of the third century, so it is one of the oldest Christian communities in Jerusalem. The small silver dome marks St. Jacob's Cathedral. According to Armenian tradition, the head of St. James (Jacob), one of Jesus' apostles, is buried in the north chapel, while the rest of his body is buried in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
When you look ahead, you see the white dome in the centre of the Jewish Quarter. This is the dome of the "Ruin" synagogue. The first synagogue was built by a group of Hasidim who immigrated with Rabbi Yehuda HeHasid in the early 18th century. Unable to pay their debts, their Arab neighbours demolished the synagogue and expelled them from the city. Only Sephardic Jews remained in Jerusalem, and Ashkenazi Jews from Europe had to dress up as Sephardic Jews to enter the city. In the 19th century, the synagogue was rebuilt by students of the Vilna Gaon and became the first Ashkenazi synagogue in Jerusalem. The synagogue was destroyed during the War of Independence by the Jordanian Legion, but it was restored with great precision decades later. Since 2010 it has been an active synagogue again.
On the horizon is the Mount of Olives ridge, the oldest active burial site in the world. Jews are buried there from the days of the First Temple to the present day. Many traditions have been associated with the Mount of Olives. In Christianity, it is the place where Jesus ascended to heaven, 40 days after being buried in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In Islam, at the end of days, there will be a very narrow bridge between the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount, the righteous will cross it in peace, but the wicked will fall into hell.
There are countless more stories and countless traditions and stories that are still significant to millions of Jews, Muslims and Christians; For billions of people around the world, a substantial component of the faith is closely linked to Jerusalem. , It always amazes me to stand and see this small area of a square kilometre, which still contains so many places, stones, and stories that have brought, are bringing and will bring countless people to the place I feel is my little Jerusalem. This city continues to beat in the hearts of billions of people.
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you enjoy tranquillity. May there be peace within your walls and tranquillity within your citadels."
שַֽׁאֲלוּ שְׁל֣וֹם יְרֽוּשָׁלִָ֑ם יִ֜שְׁלָ֗יוּ אֹֽהֲבָֽיִך
יְהִֽי־שָׁל֥וֹם בְּחֵילֵ֑ךְ שַׁ֜לְוָ֗ה בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָֽיִךְ
Psalms - Chapter 122