Roll That Train

When my sisters chose their own lifestyles
my parents hurt.
When the educators looked up their skirts
To ensure they were the right length and wearing the proper tights
My sisters hurt.
When, like Eisau and Yaakov
One more earthly
And one more spiritual
My brothers struggled to connect,
They hurt.

When my best friend revealed her childhood trauma,
And about the ACS visiting her home.
When another friend got engaged to a non-jew
And his parents disowned him as per Halacha.
When numerous other friends
Had their Judaism challenged due to their darker skin color,
Their varied non-Eastern European features,
We all hurt.

But roll that train and wonder,
Do you kill one or many?

When my family could not live up to the religious standards
Despite trying,
Wanting so hard.
When I could not understand my Judaic studies,
When my tzniut button was not closed enough
And my elbow too revealed.

When my HS principal told my classmate
“The apple does not fall far from the tree.”
When seminary was just another year
Of who’s who.
And that was not I.
When my roommate slapped my face
And our directing shluchim stood by her anyways.
When a highly recommended CGI request I work with them
And then lied about it when I showed up after cutting short my vacation,
I knew I was not worthy of rising.
That I had one last string too many.

But roll that train and wonder,
Do you kill one or many?
How many?

When I was finally titled with a learning disability,
Challenging the failure of my educators yet again.
When I began to don shorter skirts and then pants,
Challenging the status quo to be “a good maidela.”
When I dropped shabbat and chagim
Challenging the tension and ire of the day,
No void was filled.
Rather, I was ridiculed more.
To find my way through.
Be the change.
And when I made friends with my non-jewish classmates
I was reminded of our history
How neighbors always gave up their friends.

More than we bargained for?
Roll that train.
Do you kill one more or many?
How many?

When I read stories
And watch films
Of identities denied.
Children taken away.
Creativity outside the religious community discouraged.
When women still cannot vote
For a leader.
When girls are still taught they’re responsible for a man’s ill thoughts.
And men are still taught they’re not responsible.
When boy’s boyhoods are still silently taken away.

When the dead are idolized
And spoken more highly of than
The children who are shamed,
And ridiculed for their inability to meet societal demands.
Than the women who are hidden,
And beaten for their choice to speak up.
Than the men who are encouraged to remain buried in seforim
And then scorned for their inability to attend to their families.
Than caring for those opting out of their agony,
When the leaders proclaim they’ve tried,
That some burdens are too much to carry,
That they’ve done all they could…
And yet tears still flow.
How can I remain?

Roll that train.
I’ve had enough.

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1 Comment

  1. Sara October 24, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Wow!!! This is brilliant


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