June 12, 2007, - 11:48 pm

Videos of the Day: Jerusalem of Gold

One of my favorite songs is “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav”–“Jerusalem of Gold”–which is also beautiful in English. The song, by the late Naomi Shemer, was an Israeli hit in 1967 not much before Jerusalem was liberated from Muslim occupation, 40 years ago last week. The song has great meaning to Jews all over the world, including me. The lyrics are at the end of this post.
The best English version I’ve heard is this one, below, sung by 17-year-old Israeli singing sensation Liel Kolet (who was 15 at the time of the video) and Klaus Meine, the German lead singer of the rock group “The Scorpions” (who sang the hit song, “Rock You Like a Hurricane”). Yes, Muslims, Meine is pro-Israel, so you can now add him and “The Scorpions” to your boycott list. If Kolet looks like an Arab to you, that’s because her family was among the many Jewish families kicked out of Arab countries. But, unlike the constant whine about the Palestinians, you never hear about these refugees. (“Yerushalayim” is Jerusalem.) . . .

Here’s another great version of “Jerusalem of Gold” in its original Hebrew, performed by the late Ofra Haza, yet another Jew whose parents were refugees from Arab countries. She was a Yemenite Jew and Israeli, who lived in poverty with 8 siblings before she became an Israeli and worldwide singing star. Her singing voice was beautiful. (Tragically, she died of AIDS–caught from her husband, a drug addict–at the age of 42 in 2000.) . . .

Here’s my favorite video/set of pics of Jerusalem United, a Jewish City for 3,319 years, set to “Jerusalem of Gold”:

And finally, here’s another touching version of “Jerusalem of Gold,” as sung by the Moscow Male Jewish Cappella:

“Jerusalem of Gold” by Naomi Shemer (English Lyrics from the International Wall of Prayer)
As clear as wine, the wind is flying
Among the dreamy pines
As evening light is slowly dying
And a lonely bell still chimes,
So many songs, so many stories
The stony hills recall …
Around her heart my city carries
A lonely ancient wall.
Yerushalayim all of gold
Yerushalayim, bronze and light
Within my heart I shall treasure
Your song and sight.
Alas, the dry wells and fountains,
Forgotten market-day
The sound of horn from Temple’s mountain
No longer calls to pray,
The rocky caves at night are haunted
By sounds of long ago
When we were going to the Jordan
By way of Jericho.
Yerushalayim all of gold
Yerushalayim, bronze and light
Within my heart I shall treasure
Your song and sight.
But when I come to count your praises
And sing Hallel* to you
With pretty rhymes I dare not crown you
As other poets do,
Upon my lips is always burning
Your name, so dear, so old:
If I forget Yerushalayim
Of bronze and light and gold …
Yerushalayim all of gold
Yerushalayim, bronze and light
Within my heart I shall treasure
Your song and sight.
Back to the wells and to the fountains
Within the ancient walls
The sound of horn from Temple’s mountain
Again so loudly calls,
From rocky caves, this very morning
A thousand suns will glow
And we shall go down to the Jordan
By way of Jericho.
Yerushalayim all of gold
Yerushalayim, bronze and light
Within my heart I shall treasure
Your song and sight.

* Hallel is a Jewish prayer said on special holidays.

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11 Responses

The Israeli Mint has a Naomi Shemer coin through EuroCollections. I get a lot of coins from them, they are a pretty good company. http://www.eurocollections.com/catalog/?product=1746

steve ventry on June 13, 2007 at 1:27 am

These are great! Thanks for posting them – I especially liked seeing the old 1967 Liberation footage, very timely to see since Israel is under threat from those lunatic muslim pigs, especially the Iranian monster.
I’ve never heard that song in English – I like that first video.
P.S. Debbie- I tivo’d you on redeye- YOU came off great but that show is…__________? What can I say? That’s the best Fox can do?

CarpeDiem on June 13, 2007 at 7:04 am

Thank you, Debbie, for the videos. So beautiful. It breaks my heart to see self-hating Jews here and in Israel groveling to the Muslims and anti-Semites. They have forgotten their history.

lexi on June 13, 2007 at 10:09 am

Debbie, thank you for posting the these video clips of Jerusalem. They are one of the most poignant music video clips I ever seen. I still get chills up my spine every time I see the footage of Israeli soldiers recapturing Jerusalem which will always resonate with me. Unfortunately, Israel is not like that anymore. We went from recapturing Jerusalem to relinquishing Gaza( or from Moshe Dayan, the lionheart of his time to Ehud Olmert,a complete sell out recorded as on of the most corrupted political leaders in the Israeli parliment, hence the mismanagement of the previous Lebanon war not to mention his failure to release the 3 Israeli soldiers beeing held captive in Lebanon and Egypt). I guess times have dramatically changed and so have our political leaders.

Jew Chick on June 13, 2007 at 10:23 am

Beautiful tributes . . .thanks for posting the variety.
Note . . .I went to DIGG this entry and it seems your link is being jacked to another story. Hmmmm.

justamomof4 on June 13, 2007 at 1:05 pm

I think this song is also sung at the end of the movie “Schindler’s List”. I fell in love with it and went out on the web to find the Hebrew words (so I could learn a little of the language).
I remember thinking that song was a great way to end such an intense movie. It was like after all the Jewish people had been through, they had hope, and it lived in Jerusalem.
God Bless Israel.

kozanne on June 13, 2007 at 1:09 pm

Dear Debbie;
This is a nice song. A very nice song. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you. Viva Israel!

EJO on June 13, 2007 at 5:37 pm

Okay, I want to buy a CD of Liel Kolet’s! But her site lists German / European vendors – I usually use Amazon.com, but can’t find her work there. Any suggestions for a US consumer? ~TIA

John S. on June 13, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Psalm 122
1I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
2Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
3Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
4Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
5For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
7Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
8For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
9Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.
PSALM 137:
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill .
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.
You are so right to remind us of how the real people of G-d should guard and cherish the special city where G-d has chosen to some day permanently dwell in the midst of his people there. The time draws closer.
Zechariah 14
1Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
6And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
7But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
8And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
9And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
10All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.
11And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
12And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
13And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.
14And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.
15And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.
16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
17And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
18And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
19This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
20In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar.
21Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.

BB on June 14, 2007 at 9:24 pm

I absolutely love the one performed by Ofra Haza! She sounded so angelic there.

Just another note I couldn’t avoid from looking on to. If you really think that ALL Muslims are inherently bad (not talking about any country or leadership figures, just the ordinary person out there), then how are we supposed to come up with peace? Stop the hate please <3

SammySammich on January 4, 2010 at 1:42 am

It is only a few days ago I discoverd Ofra Haza’s version of this beautiful song. So Beautiful! So Serene! So Uplifting and Inspiring! Thank you for posting it here.

J. Jensen on June 29, 2010 at 5:55 pm

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