The year 2017/5777 marks fifty years since the Six-Day War, when Israel captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. This anniversary calls both for celebration of Jewish sovereignty over our holiest site, the Temple Mount, and a more somber commemoration of the fifty years of military occupation that followed this war.

In the biblical cycle, fifty is the yovel (jubilee) year, in which debts are released, slaves go free, the shofar of liberation is sounded, and each person returns to his or her family’s holdings. This year of release offers us the opportunity to get unstuck, to move beyond the pain of the past fifty years, and to find a new path toward liberation.

In this spirit, we offer you a guide that delves into seven concepts associated with yovel through biblical text, classical commentary, and Hasidic interpretations, and also looks at the complexities of Jerusalem. Each section includes questions for conversation and background information on texts. Videos of prominent rabbis teaching texts from the guide will be released soon.

Also, watch out for and read the Sh’ma Now April 2017 issue on Yovel, where we will examine the concept of the Jubilee year. We address this 50-year marker metaphorically as a time to reflect on how to reset debts and rethink our relationship to the Land of Israel, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War and its aftermath.

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