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Why Next Year in Jerusalem?

Why do we end our Yom Kippur services with the prayer: “Next year in Jerusalem?” Why not: “This year in Jerusalem?”
Last year when we ended our holiday services, many in my congregation meant just that: this coming year in Jerusalem. We were looking forward to a congregational mission to Israel that would bring us to the city of our prayers.
However, I think there is a lot more here than a travel advertisement for the Holy Land.
I think our Sages who crafted the Yom Kippur liturgy in the future tense–speaking of next year rather than this year–knew that Jerusalem is not only a very real city but also a prayer and a dream.
The name Jerusalem literally means City of Peace or ir shalem in Hebrew.
Throughout the centuries, Jerusalem has rarely lived up to that name. Destroyed by the Babylonians and Romans, fought over by the Crusaders and Muslims, and the fault line between Israelis and Palestinians. Jerusalem may not currently be seething with violence, but it is roiling with tension. Jerusalem is far from being a city of peace, at least right now.
And perhaps that is the point of the prayer–that if not this year, perhaps next year, or the year after, Jerusalem can live up to its name and be a city of peace. Despite our fears over terrorism and concerns over finding a reasonable partner among the Palestinians to broker a secure and lasting peace, we can never give up the hope that someday peace will be possible, not only for us and all of Israel, but for our neighbors as well.

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posted September 20, 2007 at 12:12 pm

doesn’t shalem also mean “whole”
so ir shalem would also mean “City of Wholeness” or “City of Completeness”?

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Vivienne Tankus

posted September 20, 2007 at 1:09 pm

This Pesach, my husband and I, who made Aliyah last year and live in Zichron Yaakov, celebrated in the Old City with my American born daughter, her husband and their two babies. She tells me that l’shana habaa biyerushalayim refers to the spiritual Yerushalayim, when every Jew will keep all the mitzvot and will live in Eretz Yisrael, as well as the physical Yerushalayim. It put a bit of a cold shower on our glee at really being in Jerusalem instead of just singing about it!
g’mar chatima tova

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Joseph . E / Givatayim / Israel

posted September 24, 2007 at 1:57 am

Jerusalem and Israel are peacefull , most of the time are exciting ,
Sometimes between peace times , IDF is sent to some fitness competition exercise , example of successfull Leb War 2 slicing Hezbollah ,
Nassarallah was like a taxi driver shouting Haifa , Tel Aviv ,
otherwise 24h fitness for IDF keeps it sharp looking ,
the last (Sep. 6)IAF fast trip into North.East Syria was a perfect sprint , whomever isn’t happy may sue him for a hit and run ,
However , to jealously keep a united Jerusalem , then have Bush Administration forget about 2 states solution blunder , it already look like 3 states trick , hamastan in Gaza , fatahland in Judea and Samaria , and arab-israelis in Israel ,
Next year in Jerusalem is fine , but how about 3 times a year , pessah , shavuot and succot ,
Honk for love Jerusalem/Israel

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posted September 24, 2007 at 4:49 am

“Next Year in Jerusalem” is an expression of spiritual hope – that Jerusalem be rebuilt spiritually, as the spiritual center of the world, with the Holy Temple and the manifest Presence of G-d on earth, at its center.
But that is tied to geography and the physical presence of Jews in the flourishing modern city of Jerusalem. The latter is essential for the former. We should be truly grateful for the rebuilding of our holy city and understand that the renewal of Jewish life and sovereignty in Israel is part of the process of ultimate redemption.

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posted May 26, 2008 at 3:05 am

It’s ironic that, while “Next year in Jerusalem” used to be a reflection of the mindset of the Jewish diaspora in the world, it is now the Palestinians who pray for “Next year in Jerusalem”, their occupied capital which they are banned from in the most horrible and racist way.
I pray for a free Jerusalem, where all can worship in peace.

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