Happy Jerusalem Day!!!
The word, the vibe, the feel, the touch, the sense and intense all reverberate with exquisite pleasure..when thinking of Jerusalem. Jerusalem has, is, and will remain the core aspect of the Jewish people. The word Jerusalem has been uttered by many historically Jewish figures, and is counted over 500 times in the Tanach. Even when we as a nation were exiled, beaten down by the nations, and short of hope, Jerusalem still fed our spiritual batteries. These pseudo-historians who try to rewrite history by de-Judaizing Jerusalem are lost for sources. If you look at the countless Jewish sources, we see a clear line of support and longing by the Jews after the destruction of the Temple (The second time around) and the subsequent exile.
Once Jews were scattered amongst the nations, they did something that most non-Jews, and the haters, either are ignorant of or try to bury it due to its inconvenient truth. The truth is that these diverse Jewish communities spanning from parts of the Middle East to North, from the southern European coast to the farthest eastern lands, Jews always collected funds for the Jews of Jerusalem. This communal charity was ongoing throughout the generations, and many prominent Rabbis in Eastern Europe even urged their students to take up residence in the Holy Land. One example is the great Vilna Gaon….
who urged his students to immigrate to the great land, and reach the fine gates of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, there was a long waiting period, a 2000 year waiting period, which came to an end after the Israeli Defense Forces regained control of the land from the Jordanians. Thank G-d for these brave souls who unified the city, and that we are allowed to live and pray in Jerusalem, the eye of the universe according to the great Reb Aryeh Kaplan Z’L.
Throughout this 2000 year period Jewish communities began to find comfort within their “host” countries. One example is the Jewish community of Berlin, where Reform Judaism began, where they began to look away from Jerusalem to Berlin, or as they called it the New Jerusalem. So, now I want to show how in Hip-Hop this idea of using the slang of Jerusalem to refer to New Jerusalem, New Jeruzalem, or just New Jerus, is another way of using the Hebrew word to authenticate their rap skills and Hip-Hop chops. Now, where is this amazingly utopian land that rappers bestowed upon the majestic title of New Jerus? Our own, and where I currently reside, state of New Jersey!?!
Yes, New Jersey. The land of board walks, fist pumps, and all the lovely cannon fodder reality TV, or MTV, offered us so that South Park could make fun of it!
So, let us look at the many rap shout outs to the land of Jerusalem, New Jerusalem that is.
We got plenty of these hard-hitting tracks like Ghostface Killah’s anthem from his first album Iron Man.
Raekwon the Chef drops it when he rhymes that “We losing em, jet to the stash in New Jerusalem.”
We should also take note that New Jersey has seen it’s share of talented rappers who proclaim the name, so that New York City won’t stay the same. These groups include such heavyweights as the Poor Righteous Teachers…
This is a great tale of the attempt to purge the Ghetto pathology, thanks to “Miss Ghetto.” RIP and Z’L to DJ Father Shaheed who recently passed.
We also have the legendary graffiti crew, as well as talented mic manipulators, the Artifacts.
The crew of Tame One and El Da Sensei lit up the streets with the hard hits, while proclaiming the great state of graf, New Jersey. Don;t front because the sate has some interesting murals and graffiti pieces, just roll on the New Jersey transit towards Trenton and you’ll be amazed at the great art, including a lovely mural of the late songstress Amy Winehouse.
The list goes on and on with the like of Redman, The Fugees, Naughty By Nature, Channel Live, and many more. Let us never forget the great state of New Jeruz, lest our arms be severed and our tongues cleave to our mouths.
Jerusalem has weighed on many Jews brains, whether conscious or subconscious, since we landed on this G-d given land. Let me end by saying that even non-religious artists feel that connection. As the great singer Bob Dylan wrote in his great, and never released on an album, song titled “Blind Willie McTell.” In the start of the first verse Dylan sings he’s “Seen the arrow on the doorpost, Saying, ‘this land is condemned, all the way from New Orleans to Jerusalem.”
This is where it all began, where it all remains, and where we will all make our trails.