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One of my small daily delights is reading an email called Jewdayo that comes out each morning by Jewish Currents editor Lawrence Bush. In it, he writes a brief summary of a person or event significant in Jewish history, that has a connection to this particular day. He usually closes with a quotation.

This morning, for example, I learned the origins of that famous song Jerusalem of God (Yerushalyim Shel Zahav). Surely you know it … the soft, almost mournful song about that majestic white city up on a hill. It turns out it was written by a famous Israeli songwriter named Naomi Shemer. She was born on this date in the Galilee in 1930.

What I especially love is Naomi’s explanation of how she wrote the song:

“The idea I started with was the Talmudic legend I remembered from my school days about Rabbi Akiva, who lived in poverty, in a hayloft with his beloved wife Rahel, who had been disowned by her father. As he plucked the hay out of her hair, he promised her that one day he would become wealthy and buy her a Jerusalem of Gold [a tiara]. . . . The phrase ‘Jerusalem of Gold’ suddenly shone in my memory as if to say, ‘Here I am,’ and I realized it would be the cornerstone of my song.” — Naomi Shemer

JEWDAYO, the Book, a date book with entries for every day of the year and lots of interesting illustrations, is available at the Jewish Currents Marketplace for $21.95, shipping included. Comment or read past Jewdayo entries at the Jewdayo Archive.  Or you can Subscribe to Jewish Currents.

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