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Religious music:
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HorahHava NagilaYemenite dance
HatikvahJerusalem of Gold
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Music for Holidays
Music of the Haggadah
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BlessingsOh ChanukahDreidel Song
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"Jerusalem of Gold" (Hebrew: ירושלים של זהב‎, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav) is a popular Israeli song written by Naomi Shemer in 1967. The original song described the Jewish people's 2000-year longing to return to Jerusalem; Shemer added a final verse after the Six-Day War to celebrate Jerusalem's unification under Israeli control.

Naomi Shemer wrote the original song for the Israeli Music Festival on 15 May 1967, the night after Israel's nineteenth Independence Day. She chose the then-unknown Shuli Nathan to sing the song. At that time, the Old City was under Jordanian rule; Jews had been barred from entering, and many holy sites had been desecrated. Only three weeks after the song was published, the Six-Day War broke out. The song was the battle cry and morale booster of the Israeli troops. Shemer even sang it for them before the war and festival, making them among the first in the world to hear it. On 7 June, the Israel Defense Forces captured the eastern part of Jerusalem and the Old City from the Jordanians. When Shemer heard the paratroopers singing "Jerusalem of Gold" at the Western Wall, she wrote a final verse, reversing the phrases of lamentation found in the second verse. The line about shofars sounding from the Temple Mount is a reference to an event that actually took place on 7 June.

The song has been translated loosely into many languages. It was also chosen as the "Song of the Year" in Israel in 1967.

The song is the corps song of the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. The corps sings it before every competition.

Other versions

Many artists recorded their own versions for the song.

  • Klaus Meine, vocalist of the popular rock band Scorpions, recorded a cover of the song together with Israeli Liel Kolet.
  • The Greek singer Demis Roussos recorded a version of the song as well.
  • It also features prominently at the end of the film Schindler's List (with the exception of the Israeli release), when the remaining Jews leave the camp and walk over the hill in the direction of a nearby town. Initial Israeli audiences were amused by the use of this song, due to it being written over 22 years after the Holocaust and being totally unrelated to the subject of the film. Following this, it was replaced with Hannah Szenes's song "Eli Eli" for Israeli showings.
  • The late Israeli singer Ofra Haza sang a poignant version of the song at Pa'amonei Hayovel (Bells of the Jubilee), Israel's 50th anniversary celebration in 1998.
  • The jam band Phish also performs the song on tour and recorded a rendition of the song on the 1994 album "Hoist".


Many of the lyrics refer to traditional Jewish poetry and themes. "Jerusalem of Gold" is a reference to a special piece of jewelry mentioned in a famous Talmudic legend about Rabbi Akiva; "To all your songs, I am a lyre" is a quote from a poem by Rabbi Yehuda Halevi;

Most of the song's melody is based on a Basque lullaby, Pello Joxepe (Peter Joseph), composed by Juan Francisco Petriarena 'Xenpelar' (1835-1869), which Shemer had heard in a performance by singer/songwriter Paco Ibañez, who visited Israel in 1962 and sang this song to a group that included Naomi Shemer and Nehama Hendel. Shemer acknowledged hearing Hendel perform Pello Joxepe in the mid-1960s. Shemer said


Jerusalem Of Gold (First Performance) -- Shulie Nathan 1967

Orignal version

she had unconsciously based her melody on the lullaby, and had felt very bad about it when she found out that she had done so.[1] Paco Ibañez was then asked how he felt when he heard Naomi Shemer had based most of the melody on Pello Joxepe. He replied by saying that he was very honored that she had chosen to use his melody for "Jerusalem of Gold".


External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Jerusalem of Gold. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.
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