For when you are too sad to remember:
May your sadness be felt as deeply as it needs to be
And may it lift in its proper time.
May you understand that just because some people can't be there at your sadness
Doesn't mean they don't love you.
May you be able to take pleasure in the pleasures of those around you
Even when you can't feel your own.
And may you not lose hope in the possibility of your own happiness,
Even when it is out of your line of sight.
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Sunday, June 26, 2016
Friday, June 3, 2016
Written for the 2016 Kolot Chayeinu Anti-Racism Weekly Omer Counter
We count the Omer for seven weeks, 49 days:
The loving kindness and benevolence of Chesed;
The strength and holy limitations of Gevurah;
The spiritual balance and beauty of Tiferet;
The eternal endurance of Netzach;
The prayer and intellecutalism of Hod;
The gateway of Yesod, collecting all of these sephirot and transmitting them to
Malkhut, the end of the chain, our human world.
Malkhut – It is the culmination.
This is where we live, this is the here and now,
God's name in Malkhut is Adonai ha Eretz, Lord of the Earth.
But in Malkhut we are ALL the lords of this realm,
We are one in the One-ness.
These are our laws, our nations, our communities, our religions,
These are our choices.
We are the rulers, here.
When I was little I knew I was an American Jew
And I knew what that meant --
UJA and Holocaust memorials,
Hebrew School and Fiddler on the Roof,
Chicken on Friday nights and Brisket on Passover,
Charoses made of apples, cinnamon, walnuts and
Manischevitz Concord Grape wine.
I was it, the Real Jew, a Pintele Yid, there was no other
And no other way to be.
There were, however, Others: The Goyim.
Everybody who wasn't us.
My father sat in front of his TV, labelling every famous white person who appeared:
Jew. Not Jew.
Jew. Not Jew.
Jew was Good, Not Jew Bad.
Everyone was Jew or Not Jew, except for the, you know, them:
Literally the yiddish word for blacks,
Which could have been meant just as a description but wasn't, it was demeaning, no more than a step or two less disgusting than the N-Word.
And those people, the S-Words, were the Other times two,
The Permanently Not and Never Jews.
Even when i was really little I knew that this was a bad word to say and I was embarrassed for my father whenever he used it, which was a lot.
Because he was my father, I will make excuses for him:
Maybe to a people used to being The Other, it feels good to make someone else The Other?
Or maybe it was a way to make himself more American, to be superior like all the other Americans, the white Americans?
Or maybe, because he grew up on the streets of the Lower East Side and Brownsville, and he fought with the Black, Italian and Irish kids on the streets for survival, he thought he'd earned the right to be a tough guy?
Or maybe he was just a racist?
I hope not.
Well, I'm all grown up now
And is is upon me to face the truth
Of racism and Euro-centrism and privilege.
And that there are Real Jews
Of many colors and genders and nationalities and practices.
And I am only one amongst us all.
And because I know this truth,
I am obligated by Malkhut to be conscious of my choices.
Can I try tunes and prayer rituals that feel "weird"?
Can I be aware of my privileges without someone reminding me?
Can I shut up and learn from others?
Can I refrain from telling people I understand when I don't?
Can I be led by people I have never been led by?
Can I give up power I didn't even acknowledge I had?
I don't know, I guess I'll find out.
I hope so.
Brisket isn't very good for my health or the environment
And Manischevitz Concord Grape is cheap crappy wine
(I don't care, I love it).
So here's a prayer for this world of Malkhut and all of us real Jews
In the last week of the Omer,
Making our choices,
As we gather at Sinai to receive Torah:
Blessed Is The One That Divides,
Giving us the illusions
Of time and space
Of days and weeks
So that we may grow and learn
And take joy in the moment,
So that we may rest on Shabbat
And not go crazy,
So that we may count 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot.
We give thanks for this seventh week of the Omer
And the metaphor and earthiness of Malkhut,
Which gathers us in community
And takes us to the 50th day of the Omer,
To study the choices of Ruth and Naomi
And join with all these real Jews waiting
At the foot of Mount Sinai.
The One-ness giving us the joys of holy separation,
We are many and we are gloriously different
But we are also one in the One.
Please may we not divide ourselves against ourselves
So together, different and the same,
We may behold the Godhead.
So together, different and the same,
We may pray, forgive and be forgiven, study, create acts of loving kindness, heal the world
And receive Torah.
And let us say,