At the conclusion of the Passover seder, four exclamatory words reverberate around the table like a lightning bolt.
Next year in Jerusalem! Slumbering grandchildren crack open their eyelids. Smiles animate fatigued faces of all ages. Spirits revive.
Le-Shana habaah biRushalayim! Jews express the same explosive utterance on Yom Kippur.
The Passover narrative slavery, the Ten Plagues, the exodus from Egypt, the chains of bondage broken demands a punctuated conclusion.
Allow me to digress.
When I was growing up, all Next year in Jerusalem signified was the seders conclusion. Finally I could go to sleep.
Things are different now.
I have been to Israel four times since 1994.
Jerusalem emanates like fire in my soul.
I long for Jerusalem. I dream about Jerusalem. Now when I say Next year in Jerusalem, I think of the actual place the flowers, stones, street vendors, the Old City, colors, aromas, the sky, the birds.
Its not religious in orientation, merely an orientation of the heart.
But thats just me.
As Passover waned and Israel Independence Day loomed, the Intermountain Jewish News contacted several Denver Jews to dis- cover what Next year in Jerusalem means to them.
Respondents, who were asked to limit their answers to one or two sen- tences, offered a plethora of interpretations messianic, spiritual, symbolic, personal, political, ethical.
The rest of this article is available in the IJN’s print edition only. Respondents include Ellyn Hutt, Doug Seserman, Jonathan Adelman, Shaul Gabby and Joyce Foster. Contact Carol to order your copy at (303) 861-2234 firstname.lastname@example.org