Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day

The newest holiday on the Jewish calendar celebrate the reunification of Israel's capital.

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Reciting Hallel

The status of Yom Yerushalayim in Jewish religious life seems more ambiguous than the religious status of Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day). Following the model of Yom Ha'atzmaut, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has decided that this day should also be marked with the recital of Hallel (psalms of praise), and with the lengthier version of Psukei d'Zimra (the psalms in the earlier part of the morning service). It is quite clear that ultra-Orthodox Jews, in Israel and abroad, have not accepted Yom Yerushalayim, but it is not clear how many Orthodox Jews chant the Hallel psalms on this day.

Israel's Progressive (Reform) prayerbook notes that Hallel should be recited on Yom Yerushalayim, but not so the Masorti (Conservative) prayerbook, which does suggest a list of supplemental readings for this day. The American Conservative siddur, Sim Shalom, mentions that Hallel is recited "in some congregations" on Yom Yerushalayim.

The ambiguity of the religious status of this holiday is reflected in celebrations--or lack thereof-- outside of Israel. While the city of Jerusalem has significant meaning for all Jews, Yom Yerushalayim has yet to obtain the popularity of Yom Ha'atzmaut and is not observed extensively outside of Israel.

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In addition, unlike Yom Ha'atzmaut--which is a day to celebrate the existence and successes of the modern Jewish state--Yom Yerushalayim can make some politically liberal Jews outside of Israel uncomfortable, due to the continuing conflicts over the future of the city. Even some Jews who believe that the city should remain undivided and under Israel's control choose not to emphasize Yom Yerushalayim as a day of joy because of the deeply emotional, violent, and controversial state of affairs surrounding the Arab portions of Jerusalem. Others, however, believe that despite the current political conflicts, an undivided Jerusalem is something to be celebrated openly and unhesitatingly, a sign like Yom Ha'atzmaut of Jewish political independence.

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