15 Minutes.

15 minutes.

15 minutes to pack.
15 minutes to
take what you can
carry in a suitcase,
wear on your back.
10 minutes til the bombs drop.
Say goodbye to your house,
grab who’s nearby –

What do you grab from the
rooms of your life, and
where do you to run to?
The mouth of the sea?

Nobody wants you,
and now you’re surrounded
by walls
and rifles
and boots
and barbed wire
and sneering leering
and the cold sweat of fear
and your loved ones uncovered
in the street
holding your hands.

You got 10 minutes
before we drop the bomb
that will forever shatter your world –
piles of rubble and bodies and
blood where once there were groves –
Better Get it TOGETHER.

Hurry Up and pack for oblivion
Hurry Up and pack for the stars
Hurry Up and pack for death
Or you’ll be dead sooner
than you think.

Knock Knock,
– or did the telephone ring –
– or did I miss that text message –
Out NOW,
The Time Has Come –
Your turn to LOS!
And make it snappy!
We don’t have all day!

15 minutes to
Pack what you can carry;
In 10 minutes
We drop the bomb.

My Judaism

My Judaism taught me to remember
the oppressed and the marginalized,
to stand with them,
to hold hands with them –
for once we were oppressed,
once we were marginalized,
once we were slaves,
once we had to wander
without a home…

My Judaism taught me to consider
all sides of an issue, to weigh all facts
perspectives and permutations,
to learn as much as possible and to
think critically about everything.

My Judaism taught me to question.

My Judaism taught me to struggle
with the truth, with god even,
to struggle to understand
what is right and
what is wrong.

My Judaism taught me
the irreplaceable value of
the written word.
My Judaism proved to me that
the oppressors control the story,
and unless you can
scribble away in buried journals,
onto slips of paper left behind in the cracks,
thrown from the slits between the bars,
hidden in the pockets of discarded clothing,
your story will never be heard,
your story will never be known.

My Judaism taught me that
it is MY JOB to speak for
those who can’t speak for themselves;
it is MY JOB to speak out against
Injustice Everywhere;
it is MY JOB to Heal the World.

My Judaism taught me that
the world doesn’t care,
only people do.

Holocaust Denial

Writing in response to a call for a creative columnist (oh; that would be ME!) with the most excellent prompt to write a paragraph describing my opinions on the following subject: People who don’t believe the Holocaust happened.

oh joy.

Here’s what I sent them:

As for People who Don’t Believe the Holocaust Happened:

I mean, I can sympathize: It is hard to believe it happened; even the Jews didn’t believe it was happening while it was happening; some of the stories were so over the top, they were simply unbelievable: that the “labor camps” were really death camps; that people were being gassed to death upon arrival, in the thousands, entire towns; that people, entire towns, were being led into the forests, made to dig massive ditches, made to strip down, stand at the edges, and then shot in the backs of their heads, to tumble down into the ditches, by the hundreds.

Someone would escape and run back to tell the story, to warn everyone, to urge them to leave, now, while they still had a chance; but no one would believe them.  No, they said, You’re Crazy; No, they said, Not here; We are from here, these people are our friends, have been for generations, you are wrong, and this will pass…

Even when you see it with your own eyes, you can’t believe it.  People didn’t believe it when, yes, Nazis did raid and ransack homes in the middle of the night, eating and stealing and breaking everything, herding everyone out, and shooting down anyone who made too much noise; Nazis – soldiers in uniforms with guns and boots – did actually smash crying babies into the ground, did torture all ages and sexes in humiliating and diabolical ways, did lock people inside buildings and burn them to death, did play mind games at all times: “Yes, Jobs, and Free Bread, just sign up here”;  ‘Hey, it’s just a shower, don’t worry; we’ll give you back your clothes when you come out; make sure you fold ’em all nice so they don’t get lost – you know how we like Order!’

Eventually, when you’re actually in it, the hunger, the blood, the stench and the truth of it sinks in; but for us, years later, perhaps only the overwhelming evidence, story upon story upon story, documents, journals, photographs, films, tattoos, piles of hair and glasses and shoes and suitcases – never enough to get the magnitude across – perhaps only sitting through hours and hours and hours of it, to see and hear the scope – perhaps only then would it begin to become real, palpable.

But why would anyone who didn’t believe the Holocaust happened ever sit through any of those stories, any of that kind of evidence?  Besides, it could all be one big fake conspiracy, right?  Nope.

Believe it: The Holocaust happened; and that ‘event’ illuminates more about Humanity than we would care to know.

Which may be another reason why some people don’t believe, won’t believe it happened: They are afraid to admit that humanity could be that psychotic.

Jesus at the dollar store

If the assault of daylight savings time isn’t bad enough, now there are preparations for Easter on the way, and when I went into the dollar store the other day, everywhere I turned I was besieged by images of Jesus, complete with thorns, in full agony, emaciated, bleeding, crucified.  The most notable were collections of lovely little stickers you can put on, what, your greeting cards? your school notebook? your bike?

I wonder if Christians have any idea what an affront this is to a Jew?  It’s like looking at the holocaust, complete with barbed wire, only woven into a circlet and forced onto a Jewish head – before or after he was tortured and crucified?  It’s like looking at a relative of mine, hanging on the fence, forever nailed to that cross, bleeding, miserable, inevitable.

It’s ghastly.

I’ll never understand why an entire religion would focus on this image of the torturous death of someone – someone, I just want to add, who was seen as a rebellious figure, both by the Romans and the Jewish authorities.  If anything, I’d say this image achieves just what the Romans hoped it would achieve: instilling fear in the population; sending a message: don’t be like this guy, or this is what you’ll get.

I could understand pictures of the supposed resurrection, or even of some beloved teaching moment, heart shining, arms open, etc, but fixating on the supreme moment of torture?  This has got to mess with a person’s head, especially a child’s.  What a terrifying sight to behold!  Not that it misrepresents what mankind does to itself, to others, to YOU, so perhaps it is a bit of a reality check, but dang…

It’s sick.  I’ll stick with bunny rabbits and coloured eggs.