It just so happened that when I was traveling to Israel a couple of weeks ago for a visit, it was Yom Yerushalayim (“Jerusalem Day”), the commemoration of the day Jerusalem was captured in 1967 during the Six Day War. After thousands of years, the Kotel, our age old Wailing Wall, was back in our hands.
El Al Airlines always has an Israeli daily paper on hand for travelers to start getting connected to the Israeli scene, already on the plane. I took a copy, and once seated I opened it to a special section published in honor of Yom Yerushalayim.
There was some lovely poetry about Jerusalem, memories, history, songs and some old photos. I noted with some curiosity how the old, pre-1948 photo of people praying at the Kotel not only showed no division between the men and women, but men and women praying alongside one another.
It was a different time, with a small community of Jews living in the Holy Land at the time. Plus, Jews were not in charge at the time. Israel (“Palestine” back then) was under British rule.
I arrived Thursday night and thanks to jet lag made it to the Kotel for the early Friday sunrise prayer service.
I got to see once again the crowd of holy women of Jerusalem, who have been daily, lifelong, pray-ers at the Kotel at sunrise, for years murmuring the book of Psalms in its entirety before even beginning morning prayers.