In a conversation recorded June 15, 2021, during the 20th annual CIE/ISMI Enrichment Workshop on Modern Israel, Dr. Yitzhak Reiter of Ashkelon Academic College, an expert on competing Jewish and Muslim views on Jerusalem, and Mauricio Friedman, an Israel educator with Hebraica University in Mexico City and Keren Hayesod, speak with day school educator Adam Shapiro about the importance of Jerusalem in Judaism and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Reiter traces the conflicting Jewish and Muslim histories of Jerusalem, outlines the extensive growth of the city the past 160 years and places the Temple Mount, the Old City and key institutions of the State of Israel within the modern city’s geography.

Friedman explores the enduring role Jerusalem and its many names, including Zion, play in Jewish liturgy, offers readings from religious texts, and explains how Judaism adapted Jerusalem over the millennia from the physical center of Jewish life to its symbolic core to a hybrid. He also offers suggestions on teaching the physical and spiritual city to Jewish students.

The discussion touches on such flash points as the security barrier, the City of David, the status quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif and the possible evictions from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood — all while embracing complexity and nuance.