A royal sanctuary

The Jerusalem Marathon. At the starting line in Sacher Park, there is an atmosphere of a public holiday, free and invigorating. Beautiful people, who relate to each other with grace and acceptance; the classic middle class that has discovered the magic of the culture of leisure. We set off and run along the most typical Jerusalem streets of all—Bezalel, King George, Jaffa.

Lots of positive energy is flowing to the pack of runners from the cheering crowd lining the sidewalks. Then the route passes through Mamilla and enters the Jaffa Gate. All at once, deep in our bones, we feel the transition to a different geographic space. Here, inside the ancient walls of the city, another sort of energy throbs and pulsates. Centuries of life have given the Old City not only the splendor of antiquity, but also the sense of awe. A royal sanctuary.


Excerpted and reprinted with permission of the author from “A Royal Sanctuary: Three Scenes for Jerusalem Day” (The Israel Democracy Institute website, May 27, 2014)

Benjamin (Benny) Lau

Posted by Benjamin (Benny) Lau

Rabbi Dr. Benjamin “Benny” Lau is the rabbi of Jerusalem's Ramban Synagogue and the Director of the 929 Tanakh B'Yachad daily Bible study initiative. Previously, he was the Director of the Human Rights and Judaism in Action program at the Israel Democracy Institute, and was the Director of the Center for Judaism and Society, the Institute for Social Justice, and the Beit Midrash for Women at Beit Morasha of Jerusalem.

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