In the winter of 1978, a group of yeshiva students who had just finished their military service decided to reestablish a Jewish presence in the Moslem Quarter of Jerusalem. Working under the auspices of the Ateret Cohanim (“Crown of Priests”) Yeshiva, headed by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, these dedicated young men made it possible for Jewish families to live once again within the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Animated by the teachings of the first Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, Rav Kook, they have advocated and practiced peaceful coexistence in their relations with their Arab neighbors.The birthing of Ateret Cohanim was long and arduous, but over the years they have brought the Old City’s historic Jewish neighborhoods back to life. In this respect the acquisition of the St. John’s Hospice, an incident that made headlines throughout the world, is treated in detail. But most important of all, the book introduces the families of Ateret Cohanim, the courageous people who, in faith and dedication, have revitalized a holy tradition interrupted nearly two thousand years ago by the Roman destruction of Jewry’s most sacred city.A United Jerusalem: The Story of Ateret Cohanim was written in commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, a city in which all faiths now worship without impediment. Authored by Ann Johnson, formerly a reporter for Catholic news services and a specialist on the Jewish origins of Christianity, it provides an objective outsider’s look at the well-nigh miraculous accomplishments of Ateret Cohanim.
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