Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors

Pray For The Peace of Jerusalem

Today marks the 44th anniversary of Israel’s re-unification/liberation/conquest/occupation of Jerusalem. I use all of those terms, not because I agree that they are all necessarily equally legitimate claims, but because they are equally real to different people — all of whom have deep interest in the city, and some of whom shape global events based on those interests.

How real those overlapping and often competing interests are, is actually far more important than is the debate about which is most accurate. Why? Because as the Hebrew Bible teaches, we are to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalms 122:6), and peace is made by focusing on the present and pursuing our dreams for the future, far more than it is by endlessly arguing about the past.


It’s not that history doesn’t matter – it does. But an obsession with history can all too easily crowd out any real understanding of the present and make any forward progress impossible. There is probably no day on which that challenge is more felt, than it is on Jerusalem Day.

For some, Jerusalem Day marks the beginning of a period of unprecedented levels of religious freedom and genuine celebration of the many faith traditions which see Jerusalem as a holy city. They are correct to see that. At no time in the history of the city have people of all faiths and those of none at all, all enjoyed the freedom of access to Jerusalem’s holy sites, and life in the city as a whole, as they have since Israel’s 1967 victory.

For others though, Jerusalem Day marks the beginning of Israeli hegemony over the city – a reality which causes them pain not dissimilar to the pain which centuries of Muslim or Christian rule caused many Jews. They also see a contemporary Jerusalem which though far better, cleaner and safer for all of its citizens than it ever was, remains a city which invests unequally in the infrastructure and services provided to different sections of the city, generally corresponding to religious and ethnic differences. Those too are facts about contemporary Jerusalem.


Contemporary Jerusalem is both an enormous success story, and a story whose ending is not yet written – a story with many unresolved questions which must be addressed regardless of the political arrangements which negotiators eventually reach. Between the calls for keeping Jerusalem the eternal undivided capital of Israel and the Jewish people, and those for the division of the city along the pre- Six Day War lines, there need to be leaders who can acknowledge the truths in claims made on both sides about how the city functions for all of those who live there and how it functioned under those who governed the city before Israel did so.

I love Jerusalem Day and celebrate it proudly and unapologetically. But genuine pride and refusal to apologize for having it are not an excuse for either avoiding serious questions about the present or the need for creative solutions which will yield a future in which others can also celebrate the city and the role it plays in their lives – both religiously and politically.


Praying for the peace of Jerusalem does not mean, and can never mean, peace at any cost. Such arrangements never bring peace anyway. But neither can the mandate to pray for peace avoid the challenges of making real peace by hiding behind commitment to Jerusalem at all costs either.

I hope that this Jerusalem Day brings more than the inevitable speeches by political and religious leaders, which do one of the above. I hope that this Jerusalem day brings speeches which articulate a vision of life in that city and a practical plan for how it could be achieved – a plan which recognizes history and historic precedent, but is not enslaved by it.

What that might look like, I don’t think anyone yet knows, but Jerusalem Day would be a good time to begin that conversation.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Joel
  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment romanscapegoat

    the Hebrew son of god that the Jews killed…only wanted everyone to know two things…love eachother and god…religion is created by Lucifer…rules in religion creates evil acts done in the name of god…jesus the jew son of god said give everything you have away…give away religion too…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Seymour

    I regret having to inform Jewish readers of this blog of a first-class Jew-hating bigot who has infiltrated the ranks of BELIEFNET as a blogger with his own blog.

    His name is Jack Kerwick, and his blog- often referenced at the BELIEFNET Saint of the Day (Catholic )W section- is entitled “at the intersection of faith and culture.”

    A defender of the imperialist Crusades, Kerwick is a self-righteous neoconservative and Christian supremacist/triumphalist. Not to mention an outspoken apologist for Mel Gibson; indeed, Kerwick has nothing negative to say of the latter’s famed anti-Jewish DUI Malibu meltdown.

    In one of his blog threads, Kerwick even insists that the existence of anti-Semitism is Jewry’s own fault, the result of their own anti-Christian bigotry. Talk about blaming the victim!

    Kerwick’s role model as blog host seems to be Arab dictators, the Burmese junta: i.e., in the guise of ‘civility’ he cracks down on dissent from his infallible insights by deleting postings which present arguments persuasively disputing his biases.

    One such deleted posting is that of “Seymour” (below). The entire context of exchanges is reproduced to provide the complete picture. Read from the bottom up. Then voice your complaint with the powers-at-be at BELIEFNET.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Herr Kerwick:

    I recognize Ben’s quote. it is from a Jewish legal source, discussing action to be taken in self-defense against a pogrom or threat of one.

    You apparently disagree with the quote- which I must then interpret to mean that, when threatened, you want Jews to proceed like sheep to the slaughter. Alas, as happened, far too often, during the Holocaust.

    Two words: NEVER AGAIN!

    And since you seem to want to define “Jewish self-defense” as a hate crime; and even insist on defending Gibson’s anti-Semitic attacks(!); then I am certain that the A.D.L. will be happy to raise this issue with your boss(es) at BELIEFNET.

    You are threatening “to pursue this matter”, take legal action against Mr. Shapiro? I know any number of – fine, Jewish – lawyers who will eagerly take this case, and PUBLICIZE it extensively. (If you want, you can even call Mel Gibson as a character witness for your side!)

    p.s. you can’t “slur” someone by telling the truth about him. Growing up as the son of a Holocaust-denying father, Gibson’s anti-Semitic views were in evidence all along; the DUI incident simply supplied irrefutable corroboration.

    • Jack Kerwick
    June 1, 2011 at 8:28 pm
    Gibson was slurred as an “anti-Semite” long before his run in with the police. And he wasn’t slurred untilhe made The Passion. That is, it wasn’t until he gave expression to his Christian faith that he invited this charge.
    • Jack Kerwick
    June 1, 2011 at 8:15 pm
    Ben, I posted a cautionary note yesterday to all who visit this blog. I appreciate those of you who have taken the time out to come here. I really do. But I also decided that I ad hominem attacks–e.g.’s charges of “anti-Semitism,” “racism,” and the like–and incivility generally would not be tolerated. What this in turn means is that when any postings including such language will be deleted as soon as I get around to reading them. But this post of yours sounds dangerously close to a threat, and maybe even a hate-crime. I will leave it here, for if I may very well pursue this matter.

    • ben shapiro
    June 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm
    “Goy hamerim yad al yisrael chayav mita”-(A gentile who raises his hand against an Jew must be put to death).

    • jenny rubin
    June 1, 2011 at 10:53 am
    Dr. Kerwick mentions the Gibson film, but without reference to Mel’s subsequent notorious Malibu DUI anti-Semitic meltdown.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment romanscapegoat

    seymour butts…there is a small group of jews that control the world…then jews are placed in the highest positions of power-jews control the media-every poll in america is controlled by jews-jews control the health care system the drug compines…wallstreet…6 major banks that control america…jew banks and CEO control the whitehouse…Kennedy tried to stop unregulated jew greed-the jews killed him…Obama tried to stop unregulated jew greed-the jew media using jew controlled polls stopped Obama… the jews have conquered america and are allowing the whitehouse to govern under jew rule…Obama was never coming after the ignorant backwards hillbilly christian tea baggers…just wealthy jews.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment nick ayers

    romanscapegoat- I know who you are: Andrea Peyser.

    The jig is up. Go climb back in your hole.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment romanscapegoat

    nick…i am god…i can hear a bunch of shirts tearing….

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment o’keefe

    Congrats, romanscapegoat!

    Andy Breitbart has a TWITTER picture of your ‘junk.’ It has been purchased by Webster’s Dictionary for use as the illustration for the meaning of the word ‘puny.’

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Goldiemae

    I have never encountered so much Jew bashing on any public forums such as this one. Most similar sites won’t permit it. People are entitled to their opinions, of course, but to publicize them this blatantly should not be permitted, especially by Beliefnet which does mention “rules of conduct”. I have not read said rules, but apparently it allows freedom of speech to the extent that it supports defamation of character and downright prejudice.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment romanscapegoat

    goldiemae…Jews always play the race card when someone shines the light of truth…jews even made up a word…anti suspect a jew a nite…goldiemae-don’t worry, soon there will be another 9/11 terror attack on America that will be ONCE AGAIN orchestrated by the american government and the jews…THEN the jews that control the world will end free speech on the Internet…there will be no more twitter-face book-belief-net…only business transactions and propaganda will be allowed on the Internet…ALL MEDIA AND ALL FORMS OF INFORMATION IS OWNED BY JEWS….JEWS CONTROL EVERYTHING ON AMERICAN TV…JEWS DEDICED WHAT PROPERGANDA TO REPORT ON THE EVENING NEWS EVERYDAY…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Your Name

    romanscaregoat: “puny” comments from a “puny”(neo-nazi) poster

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment romanscapegoat

    your name…Jews left Israel in the name of greed to conquer Europe…god used hitler to punish the jews and send them back to Israel…i am shining the light of truth…jews have conquered America…once again the jews will be punished…lucifer will land in Israel in his “spaceship” built by the RAELIANS….

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment romanscapegoat

    Lucifer will land in Israel in his “spaceship”on a landing pad built by the raelians…raelians are building landing pads around the world…symbolizing acceptance of Lucifer as god…

  • Double Glazing Kidderminster

    I hope and I wish that jerusalem may have their desire peace. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Somtimes God Is Like That

    Two miscreants take on the world of derivative Evangelical publishing by inviting the whole internet to write a devotional together! Help them out at Sometimes God Is Like That!

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