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WIZO supports the ‘City of Gold’

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Yom Yerushalayim, also known as Jerusalem Day, commemorates the reunification of east and west Jerusalem following the Six-Day War of 1967. Thursday, 19 May, marks 56 years since the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City, one of the most noble moments in the historic love between Jews and Jerusalem.

When the Jewish people were exiled from Jerusalem, King David said, “If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its strength … if I fail to elevate Jerusalem above my highest joy.” But we Jews didn’t forget, and while exiled, we prayed toward Jerusalem to keep the memory alive. Amidst oppression, the Jewish people always said, “Next year in Jerusalem”, and they preserved the dream of a world in which love and justice would prevail. To this day, Jewish people say, “Next year in Jerusalem” and when praying, always face the city of Jerusalem.

Just as the Jewish people preserved a world in which love and justice would prevail, so too does the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) assist those who are oppressed and who preserve a dream of a world where love and justice will prevail. WIZO has always worked hard to improve the social welfare of the residents of Jerusalem. It operates 18 day care centres, one youth centre, one school, one shelter, and eight WIZO branches in Jerusalem. By managing these and uplifting Israeli society, WIZO continues to build up this special city, touching the lives of those vulnerable people who live there to overcome their challenges and live their lives to the fullest.

The name Yerushalayim has two parts, “yira”, which means “to see or vision”, and “shalem”, which means “peace”. WIZO’s vision is to assist those most vulnerable in finding their peace so that they can live sustainable and upstanding lives.

Yom Yerushalayim celebrates those that fought to bring Jerusalem to where it is today, just as WIZO fights to bring abused women back to emotional and physical health. It’s marked by prayers of thanksgiving, street parades, singing, and dancing. There are also lectures on the history and future of Jerusalem, and memorial services for those who died in the Six-Day War. WIZO assists the children we protect to learn about the past and celebrate the future. As we reinforce our deep ties to this special city, we encourage all the children to look ahead to their future as well.

David Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, declared, “The value of Jerusalem cannot be measured, weighed, or put into words. If a land has a soul, Jerusalem is the soul of the land of Israel.”

On this day, WIZO joins in the celebration of Jerusalem. Let’s remember that this special city that’s forever etched in our hearts and souls is a city like no other. We will not forget her, and she will remain the holiest city for us, the Jewish people.

Yerushalayim shel zahav (Jerusalem of gold). It wraps itself around our past, affirms our present, and opens the door to our future and those who have been given a wonderful start from our WIZO projects.

WIZO South Africa wishes everyone joy and happiness on Yom Yerushalayim as we reflect on the past and future of Jerusalem, our beautiful city of gold.

Shelley Trope-Friedman, president WIZO South Africa

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