Beyond Schindler’s List; A Tisha B’Av Story

Guest post by Rivka Nehorai.

Face frozen in shocked fright,
Scurrying to and fro,
Dark hair, pale skin, worried yet pious, here and yet somewhere else, higher and deeper,
Normal yet different
These are my people.
Real, yet caricatures, I find myself amongst them
My bones start to shake,
Terror en masse,
This is my story.

It has been beaten into my blood,
It is the fabric and makeup of the bones the push against my fat, skin, and nerves to propel me forward
Those whose flesh from which I came walked these roads
Saw these sights
Shaved, pushed, commanded,
Stood shaking, obedient, never knowing tomorrow.
This is my blood,
These are my people.

I reflect on the bond I feel with these black and white imaged souls, etched in our memories, family of thousands, millions,
As I step out in the still humid air, sunlight on my face,
as they pass me on the street,
60 plus years later.
They look the same, I look the same,
yet we are free.

And the Israeli youth,
with their golden skin, shining proud eyes and soul,
Suddenly I feel they cannot relate
Them in Geula, me in Golus
They are of a different bone, a different legion,
They from freedom, us from enslavement.

And yet,
sometimes,
when I see the religious soul on the street, here in America,
pale skin,
bound in chains and clothes and furtive, unsure steps,
or with too strong dogmatic resolutions,
uncertainty resting on their shoulders,
pressure and fear chaining them down,
like we were chained long ago,
I look at them discerningly from a distance of 50 ft and 20 years:
Who are these people? I am not one of them.

And the Israeli youth,with their embracing arms and warm thoughts,
this is my Truth I realize as I join their side, this is my Life, this is who I really Am.

The truth-
I am part Golus
I am partially Geula
Golus, is my past (Geula my past before I had a past)
but it is also the greatest impetus for my future
My Golus grinds against my  Geula,
its fierce, stubbled nicks shaving my own personal redemption (and our redemption) into stronger and stronger metal powerhouses, more focused, certain vision
I am half Israeli
I am partially European
I am a war hero, a battered but still standing survivor,
I have seen it all and I am also untouched,
Rare virgin spirit with shining eyes and a good, clear heart
I am Golus
I am Geula
Yes,
These are both my people.

  • anonymous

    Wow. I read this and literally could not get up from my seat for a few minutes. Very powerful. Thank you for sharing this.