Australian Educators Bond with Jerusalem throughout the Millennia

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Jerusalem has been the heart and soul of the Jewish people since antiquity, and then throughout their period of exile right up until the present day.


“In other places you look with your eyes, in Jerusalem you look with your heart,” said Jenny Glazer of the St. Ives School in Sydney.

The JNF Australia Educators Study Tour spent Friday and Sabbath in the holy city of Jerusalem. The delegation embarked on a tour of the Old City and its environs and learned about the 3000-year-old city’s significance to the world’s major religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
Highlights of the Australian educators’ tour in Jerusalem included the Mount of Olives, where they observed the surrounding landscape and learned about the city’s significance to the world’s three major Abrahamic religions; the City of David excavations, where they learned about Jerusalem’s history from the period of King David to the present day; and the Western Wall, where they wrote personal prayers on slips of paper and placed them between the ancient stones.

For Louise Stone, principal of the Kensington School in Sydney, this was her first visit to Israel, and the JNF Australia and KKL-JNF Israel fulfilled a dream that she had carried in her heart for many years. Her friends blindfolded her and led her towards the Western Wall. When they arrived they took off the blindfold and she stood facing the wall, her eyes glistening with tears.

“This visit to the Western Wall is an experience I will never forget,” she said. “My parents and children had visited Israel in the past, and they all told me that I have to visit here as well and feel the special bond. Now it’s finally my turn and I have no words to describe the experience. When I landed in Israel a friend from Sydney wrote me an especially moving message: “Welcome home.”

Jerusalem has been the heart and soul of the Jewish people since antiquity, and then throughout their period of exile right up until the present day.

For Gail Bachmann of Kesser Torah College in Sydney, Jerusalem is a special place. “My heart and soul are in Jerusalem,” she said. Regarding the trip as a whole she added, “I’m learning so many new things here about Israel that I would not have been exposed to if I hadn’t come here, especially as part of such an instructive and meaningful seminar.”

The tour of Jerusalem was also a journey in the footsteps of IDF soldiers, who fought here during the 1967 Six Day War, liberated the city’s eastern part from the Jordanian legions and unified the city under Israeli sovereignty.

Jenny Glazer of St. Ives School in Sydney said that she has been singing Naomi Shemer’s iconic song “Jerusalem of Gold” since she was three years old. “I have visited a lot of beautiful places all over the world, but none of them are like Jerusalem. It’s a feeling that I cannot express in words. In other places you look with your eyes, in Jerusalem you look with your heart.”