JCC marks Jerusalem Day

YOUNGSTOWN — The Jewish Community Center celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Reunification, which marked the end of the six-day war in Israel in June 1967, with various speakers and performances.

”Celebrate Jerusalem Day: The 50th Anniversary of the Reunification” was sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation. More than 50 people attended the event that also included musical performances from local children, Israeli food and video greetings.

Rabbi Joseph Schonberger of Temple El Emeth in Liberty said ”Today we pay our respect to the many people who fought for the city but never saw the city united as it is today. We remember Jerusalem is at the very heart of the Jewish people.”

Richard Marlin, Youngstown Jewish Federation’s president-elect, said the reunification is “a monumental military victory that changed the course of history,” and that the war was a transformative event for Israel and many Jews.

He said for many people there are first-hand memories and much emotion for what happened and the legacy of the war.

The Six-Day War was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967 by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt (known at the time as the United Arab Republic), Jordan and Syria.

Itzhak Brook, who served in the Israeli Army as a medic in the Six-Day War and as a battalion physician during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and author of the book ”In the Sands of Sinai: A Physician’s Account of the Yom Kippur War” shared his thoughts on the war. Brook is adjunct professor of pediatrics and medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

As a member of the Israeli Army, Brook had been trained to defend his country against those who attacked during the Six-Day War. He was also trained as a medic to administer aid to those who were wounded during battle or evacuated from the area.

Brook said he knew it was his duty to take care of all of the wounded soldiers.

He said tensions increased between Israel and Syria and other Arab countries in early 1967, which led to the Six-Day War.

Brook said while the war brought about Jerusalem’s reunification, he said there were those who lost their lives. After the war, Jordan gave up its claims to the West Bank, and Israel took control. East Jerusalem became part of Jerusalem during the larger city’s reunification.