For Those Who Came Before You

This poem calls out from the center of your presence.
It does not want to placate or silence your pain.
It does not ask you to cover up your discomfort.
It wants to create a sacred vacuum.
A tzimtzum for you to feel your way through.
This is the route to liberation.

The wall presses against your back.
The fact is that
Simply being unapologetically Jewish is a political act,
Every poem is a political poem.
Like it or not,
Your mic is always on.

Rescue yourself from
The typical imprisonment.
Do so for those to whom you owe your existence:

Your birth is a testament to destiny.
Consider that if you are alive and Jewish,
You definitely have ancestors
Who were spiritual warriors,
Defiant and fearless,
Who let candles blaze in the window for days,
Who refused to assimilate,
Who stared down the barrel of a gun,
Who said,
“No, I do not accept your deity as my lord and savior,”
“No, I will not deny who I am,”
“No, you cannot destroy me.”
It is by virtue of their bravery
That you can even be made aware
Of your Hebraism.

Not one of us alive is untouched
By a worldwide and ever-evolving desire
For our wholesale annihilation,
And yet, we survive.

Apathy is a dubious and dangerous privilege.
Diversified in our gloriousness from both ends of the spectrum,
How else can I tell you this is not about a decision to be religious?

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Judaism is threaded into your identity,
And cannot be dismantled.
It is not an ideology to be discarded,
It is part of your makeup,
Braided into the whisper of helix.

This is the nature of exile.
But I promise,
A change is gonna come.
This is the surging purge of false belief systems
Spoken of for millennia by our most holy mystics.
Out of the ashes,
We will fashion our greatest creation:
An unbounded love wherein all is encompassed in oneness.

In the name of those who came before you,
Who stood up and prayed
To a G-d you may
Or may not believe in
For your eventual fruition,
Peel back the layers,
Reveal your true nature,
Don’t let your blood be mistaken,


Photo: Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague, Czech Republic, by C.