Rivka Miriam Schershetzky

When Rivka was a young girl growing up up in Jerusalem, they would point to her and her friends from afar on the Old City and show them the edge of the Western Wall was barely seen

When Rivka was a young girl growing up up in Jerusalem, they would point to her and her friends from afar on the Old City and show them the edge of the Western Wall was barely seen, and she never dreamed she would arrive there one day. She was fifteen years old in 1967, and the period before the war is remembered to her as a period of fear and anxiety that prevailed throughout the country, while the State of Israel was preparing for a difficult war which no one knew what its consequences would be.

She and her friend were on Gaza Street when the war began, and they rushed to their homes. When she managed to get home, her father announced that they would not move out of this house, and it would be their last position if necessary. Through all the days of the war Rivka and her family were attached to the transistor radio and listened to the news broadcasts, and then one day the news came out that “the Temple Mount is in our hands”. They heard Rabbi Goren blowing the shofar at the foot of the Western Wall and the soldiers’ crying. Everywhere around them people burst out of their homes in tears of happiness and began embracing each other, crying, and dancing in the street. Rivka felt that she was writing history with her own body.

When the access to the Old City and the Western Wall was made possible Rivka hurried to get there. As soon as she reached the Dung Gate she took off her white sandals and carried them in her hand. She felt that in this place she had to fulfill the verse “Take the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.” The fact that it was possible to go freely to the Western Wall, to the Temple Mount, to a place that had been the deepest wish of Jews for so many generations, was inconceivable for her. It was a new and unexpected source of hope.