Jerusalem, May 9 – An opening ceremony inaugurating the new Chain of Generations Center adjacent to the Western Wall plaza was held earlier today in honor of Jerusalem Day. Among the dignitaries present at the ceremony were Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel; Mordechai (Suli) Eliav, Director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation; Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon; and former Jerusalem mayors Nir Barkat, Uri Lupolianski and Ehud Olmert. Also participating via live stream from New York were Eric Gertler and James Gertler, nephews of Mortimer B. Zuckerman and trustees of the Zuckerman Institute and Zuckerman Family Foundation; and Malcolm Hoenlein, President of the Conference of Presidents. Lina Deshilton, Executive Director of the Zuckerman Institute in Israel, participated in the inauguration ceremony.
In his opening remarks, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz quoted the prophet Malachi, that Elijah would come to ‘turn the hearts of the fathers through the children, and the heart of the children back through their fathers.’ “This,” Rabbi Rabinowitz said, “is the essence of the Chain of Generations Center – to return the heart of the fathers to their sons, and to the hearts of the sons to their fathers, connecting all the links in the chain.”
“Today, we open the renewed visitor center, one that connects our past with our present, and our present with our future,” said Mayor Moshe Leon. “This long chain begins with our deepest roots: from our forefathers and mothers all the way to the present day. From this Center at the base of the Western Wall, we must not rely on miracles. Rather, the chain of generations depends on each and every one of us. Jerusalem is the axis that connects our nation. They emerge from this chain of generations more connected and more dedicated than before. ”
Greeting the audience via live feed from New York were Zuckerman Family Foundation trustees James and Eric Gertler. “My brother Eric and I join you as representatives of our own chain of generations: Our uncle Mortimer Zuckerman established the Chain of Generations Center in honor of his daughters, Abigail and Renee Zuckerman, links in the chain of Jewish continuity,” said James Gertler. “This is indeed a beautiful celebration of our Jewish heritage, and a most fitting celebration for Jerusalem Day.”
“The story of the Jewish people is one of a living, thriving culture that has literally transformed civilization,” said Eric Gertler. “By giving the world a fundamental system of ideals and ethics, the Jewish nation introduced its core values of justice and peace, as well as countless contributions to the fields of science, philosophy, literature, art and music. The Chain of Generations Center tells that story in a meaningful way that will leave us all feeling connected to one another.”
Also greeting the audience from New York was Malcolm Hoenlein. “The dedication of the Chain of Generations Center takes on special significance at this time, especially after we have been separated from the holy city for more than a year,” he said. “We are reminded not to take it for granted. At this time when our enemies want to deny our connection to Jerusalem today and throughout the ages, the Chain of Generations Center reminds us of the unbreakable bonds with our eternal capital. This is a lasting tribute to Mort Zuckerman and his commitment to strengthen Jerusalem, and educate the generations about its importance and connectivity.”
“If there is any place that is the beating heart of the chain of generations, of thousands of years of prayer and longing of the Jewish people, it is right here,” said former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who also served as mayor of Jerusalem. “There’s nothing like it, nothing more important than this place; and there is no more Jewish place than this, no place where there is a bigger future for us.”
Former Mayor Rabbi Uri Lupolianski spoke about Jerusalem as “the beating heart, where we can display the chain of generations, in the place where Jews hoped and prayed for.”
“I visited the new Chain of Generations Center a few days ago, and within my group, each person left a changed individual,” said former MK and Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat. “Exposing the past and connecting the Jewish people to the future is the best investment we have as a people.