Ritualwell

Tradition & Innovation

Rededication

eight hanukkah candles and one shamash are lit against a black background
We are still here
Our light is not dimmed
We rise again and again and again
 
We make it through fires
burned, but healing our scars 
We keep going when the roads are uphill
breathing heavily, but still breathing 
We wake each morning
We rest each night
We teach our children ancient blessings
hoping their meanings will take root
building fortification from within
and extending like the branches of a tree
taking strength from the earth 
growing eastward, westward
and up to the sky
 
Heads high, spines straight
we take our courage from the ancestors 
creating new worlds over and over
throughout their wandering
always searching for safety
always... searching 
calling each new place home
until we are, once again, forced to wander
 
The journey has been long
from the Middle East to Spain to North Africa
to Eastern Europe to Australia
to Cuba, the Dominican Republic
to the shores of New York and California
in small towns where we settle for work 
or to be close to family
We pitch our tents, we thrive in shtetls and ghettos meant to unravel us as a people
we live in tenements and apartments
and kibbutzim and grand homes 
on boulevards in Berlin and Boston
 
Sometimes, we try to run
from who we are
wanting so desperately to fit in
wanting to belong, to be left alone, to live without fear, to give our children a better life, to enter spaces formerly forbidden to us, 
to be like
everyone else
 
Sometimes, we embrace
the foods we eat, the holidays we celebrate, the rituals we sanctify, the wedding couples held high in chairs 
the new lives we bring into this world
 
Sometimes, we can just be
simply who we are 
 
And then darkness descends once again
like it did in Pittsburgh and in Poway
and the cemeteries and other sacred spaces desecrated
 
We all spend our lives dedicating ourselves to something, whether holy or profane or both or somewhere in between 
 
But rededicating is a true act of resistance 
We can claim something over and over again
as a form of sacred return 
We can pitch another tent, build another grand house of worship after it has been debased
 
Rededication runs through our veins
is in our DNA, shapes by both our trauma 
and our survival
We know who we are 
our stories are collective echoes 
and our dreams are filled 
with floating Chagall figures 
rising from the ashes 
and swirling in a beautiful burst of color
towards eternity

 

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