A Love Letter to my Community on the Occasion of Tisha B’Av*

Shabbat on the beach, Tel Aviv, July 4, 2014
Shabbat on the beach, Tel Aviv, July 4, 2014

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Your wound is as deep as the sea.Who can heal you? (Lamentations 2:13)

 I am your offspring. The child of number tatooed wrists and minute-long sirens. I can sense what my life means to you – the blood running through my veins, the meat on my bones.

 It means something to me, too.

I am also your rebel, wayward writer and critic.
I can sense that my words hit where it hurts.

But I will always love you. I breathe you.
I will never abandon you.

I believe that we need each other. All of us. We have been called dirty and ugly and backwards. But we are a beautiful, beautiful people.

This Tisha B’Av, I pray for softness.
Beneath our anxieties and fears, we are so very connected.
We may believe it necessary to hurt one another to survive, but still,
I pray for softness.

Our loved ones were murdered because humans are capable of unthinkable horrors. It is not because we were weak.

If it hurts to admit we need help, that’s okay.
If it’s too much to admit we cannot survive on our own, that’s okay.
If it’s too painful to voice our need for solidarity, that’s okay.

But we are not okay. We are allowed to feel our trauma.
We have survived genocide.
We have survived genocide.
We have survived genocide.

This Tisha B’Av, I pray for the courage to look ourselves in the eye. If our fears have clouded our judgement, may we have the courage to say so. If our trauma has begotten injury to others, may we have the courage to say we’re sorry. If our rage has turned to a willingness to do violence, may we have the courage to make it stop.

And I pray for solidarity. It is solidarity that will ultimately keep us safe. As we remember the righteous of the nations, may we continue to find allies in unlikely places.

May the memories of those we lost for a blessing. May we find those blessings in the work of our hands and the whispers of our hearts.

I find my blessing in you.

* Tisha B’Av, the fast of the ninth of the Hebrew calendar month Av, is a day of mourning to commemorate the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. It primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples, both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av, along with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290, the Holocaust, and other calamities.

 

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