Let’s begin this book review with the author’s own words:
I have no zechus to merit that for which millions of Jews have longed and davened for, for thousands of years. It is only due to pure chessed on Hashem’s part that I live in and am able to explore the Land of the Avos, the Land Hashem chose as His, above all others. For this great privilege and all His other innumerable, unending kindnesses to me and mine, I thank Hakadosh Baruch Hu, and may He grant that I become more worthy of receiving His blessings.
This beautiful book would make a wonderful gift for a visitor to Jerusalem or for anyone in the world who feels connected to this unique holy city.
Mrs. Littman has assembled a fascinating portrayal of Jerusalem, with 86 personal interviews and 240 stunning photos by her sister, Rimonah Traub, turning this landmark book into a family project.
Intensive research into the history of this period has resulted in a history book that is detailed, educational and fascinating to read.
Mrs. Littman authentically describes the daily life of the religious community in the final years of the British Mandate and during the difficult siege of Jerusalem in the summer of 1948.
Living in the border areas of the city was perilous, bringing frequent tragedy to the local inhabitants. Despite the constant danger, the community managed to survive as the shuls filled with their prayers for Hashem’s salvation.
The personal interviews with those who endured this challenging period provide a vibrant reality to this book which is often lacking in other history books.
Divided into three sections, Part One describes the War of Independence. Part Two: Traveling along the Jerusalem Armistice Line, most of which was originally published in the Israeli edition of the Hamodia feature “Discovering the Land”.
Part Three: The Ring Neighborhoods of Jerusalem, concluding with the neighborhood of Ramot, in which the author herself resides.
Among the many fascinating interviews in this book is one by Mrs. Puah Shteiner, author of the memoir “Forever My Jerusalem”.
She vividly describes, from a child’s perspective, life in the Old City during the time of the inhumane British Mandate. She mentions how British soldiers would enter and ransack Jewish homes for suspected hidden weapons but often stealing money and other valuables.
One day a soldier stole the family’s wad of money and, if that wasn’t enough, found and ate the little girl’s chocolate bar she was saving for Shabbos. This one incident perfectly illustrates the difficult conditions of the time.
The final section of the book discusses Jerusalem’s current life and miraculous growth, the beginning of the fulfillment of prophecies such as Zechariah’s: “The city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.”
The reader will soon become engrossed in turning the smooth, high quality pages with its beautiful full-color photographs. Filled with the author’s deep love of the Ir Hakodesh and its inhabitants, Thy City Jerusalem is a book to cherish always.
Thy City Jerusalem: The Miraculous Rebirth of the Holy City
by Vardah Littman with photos by Rimonah Traub
Is published by Torah LaKol Press.