They taught me about mitochondrion giving energy to our cells and I asked,
“But how do they know?”
They explained about DNA coding-instructions for our complicated processes and I asked,
“but how do they know?”
They explained about the codes already in the sperm and the egg and I asked, unsatisfied
And they told of the sperm and the egg before that one
and that one
and the one before that one-
“but how, but how, but how?”
So we were brought back to the beginning-Big Bang and the evolution that followed yet still I begged them, “but how?!”
I learned of a wondrous universe and my wondrous body as mechanical coincidences.
Gears cannot think for themselves.
The swooshing of my blood
and the churning in my stomach
and the energy emanating from all that lives and that simply is-this world-screams
G!D to me.
G!D screams G!D to me.
In this life, I am third generation American.
Three generations from the shtetls of Europe
My great, great grandfather; a Rabbi,
My great grandfather; owner of a kosher deli whose busiest day was saturday.
My grandmother; the only of her siblings with separate dishes.
My mother learned of shabbos in hebrew school.
When she asked her mother why they had none in their home,
my grandmother said, “Shabbos is dead.”
If my family’s Jewish soul is a crocheted sweater,
then assimilation is the snag that’s unravelled its stitches
and I have made a knot where the loose threads found me.
In this life, I am generations of abuse
descendant of pedophiles, beaters and screamers
good men and women each with hopes to be better than their parents.
Good hopes and intentions do not make good parents.
Good hopes and intentions do not break the cycle.
Good hopes and intentions have not ended the cycle.
People replicate what they know-
The generations before me never saw different therefore they were not.
Doctor’s office waiting rooms,
supermarket checkout lines,
subway cars and platforms;
I scan for the families, my role models,
teaching what to and not to do.
I am seeing different,
I will be different.
Practicing patience, I will be different.
Rehearsing non-reactiveness, I will be different.
Constructive criticism, give me! I will be different.
Self awareness is me, I will be different.
Embodying empathy, I will be different.
My children will never fear me more than they’ll fear G!D.
A constant work in progress, a parent, I will be.
I have always known I am to be a mother.
When the cycle threatened my will,
I stayed so as not to murder my children along with me.
I must be different.
My tests are flashing neon lights saying,
“Shaina! It is up to you-revive Torah, revive healthy, loving family for your descendants! Turn this all around.”
G-D I came back to you
against so much strife
there was a holocaust in my home
and I came back to you
because I know and feel the promise
I said naase venishma and so keeping your word
could not wait ’til eighteen.
The entire universe only makes sense through You
and You tell me I don’t make sense.
In the same way I know and feel na’ase venishma,
I know and feel I am to be a mother and a wife.
I cannot do that with a man in honesty
and You tell me to be honest
to serve you sincerely
taher libeinu leavdecha be’emes
Is my preference for women an impurity of my heart?
It sure doesn’t feel like one.
G-D, I want You.
I want prayer.
I want community.
I want learning.
I want shul.
I want kosher.
I want shabbos.
I want zmiros.
I want yuntif.
I want havdalah.
I want tznius.
I want shomer nagiya
to make sense.
I want ketubah.
I want marriage in the eyes of G-D.
The supreme court offers me no salvation for my legislation is eternal.
I want to fight my spouse over who gets to pick the four and who gets to pick three rabbis to say those brachos under the chuppah.
I want the people who made me who I am to celebrate with me.
I want nidah.
I want mikvah.
I want G!D fearing family.
I want children.
G-D are these cycles of life you gave me but a charade?
I want passing on the mesorah.
I want my children to go to a school where they learn Torah,
where they build friendships with other kids who learn Torah,
where they are part of the klal.
I want partnership, I want companionship,
I want to know another
to be like G-D
I want sex.
I do not want celibacy.
I do not want a heter to masturbate without guilt.
I do not want single parentage.
I do not want sexless intimate partner without childrenage.
I do not want to “find other ways to serve”.
I want to have my cake and eat it too.
I can’t delcare your praises with closed lips, G-D! There are invisible hands over my mouth.
If accepting your Torah by har sinai meant accepting your whole Torah, I would accept it again and again and again and again and again and again and again.
I’d rather live a life where my marriage is a personal truth and our sex is sin
then live a life where it’s all a matter of preference and har sinai never happened because I can not abandon either part of my truth.
*lift right fist clutch left side of chest*
*lift right fist “stab” stomach*
*lift right hand “slap” face to the left*
*lift hands lift arms*
*open arms wide*
*bow and take three steps back*
*bow left* I am scared
*bow right* I am lost
*bow forward* I am confused
*right foot forward* Hear me
*left foot forward* I’m trying
*feet together* I’m trying