Dear Aish Family,

Today is one of the most memorable and celebratory days in Jewish history. 53 years ago, the Old City of Jerusalem was recaptured and Jews were once again allowed to pray at the Kotel.

Two years ago, after the United States declared their intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel, we had many international reporters who descended on the Aish World Center looking for interviews. I found myself paired up with a reporter from Iraq.

She asked me what I would like to say to Muslims around the world who are nervous that their access to the Temple Mount would be cut off due to the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol. I told her that for over two thousand years Jews were allowed to visit the Western Wall. It was only during the 19 years that it was in Jordanian hands that Jews were banned. In fact, as a Jew, if I had been standing in Aish during that time, I would have been killed.

Since 1967, all religions and all nationalities have been welcomed to the old city of Jerusalem. I told the reporter to tell the world that Jerusalem was open to them all with outstretched arms.

Although it is tough that for the past few months Jews have not been able to visit the Kotel, our hearts remain, and will always be connected to Jerusalem.

Next week we will be celebrating Shavuos which commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It was during this time that all the Jews were united as one. That is the only way that the Torah could have been received from the Almighty. Jewish Unity is paramount at all times and especially given the hard times we have all gone through during the past few months.

I was overjoyed when I received a phone call from our neighbor at Yeshivat HaKotel, Rabbi Reuvain Taragin. He told me that he was putting together a major international Torah learning program in honor of Shavuos. Our Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yitzchak Berkovits and I were requested to participate and we immediately agreed. With eight Chief Rabbis and many Rosh Yeshivas, the lineup of Rabbis and teachers is unprecedented.

This is what the Creator wants from His children. He desires unity. We must come together and stay together. I would encourage everyone to tune in on Sunday to and listen to the messages of love and inspiration.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Steve Burg on this week’s Torah Portion
Every Jew Counts

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