Sing a New Song: From Squirrel Hill to Colleyville

In solidarity and compassion
the hearts of Squirrel Hill turn to Colleyville 
knowing all too well the stain of terror in sacred space
 
Throughout the ages, there have been many who have risen up 
with these same evil intentions
but never once 
were our people beaten back 
retreating into dark corners
making ourselves small
We have had and will continue to have
the audacity to remain alive
 
This past Shabbat we sang the song of the sea
The one that carried our people
across the shores from slavery to freedom
We did not know then what dangers could occur
in the crevice of land amidst the waves
nor what lay on the other side
but we had already traversed the barren desert
and knew narrow space before
so, we had the imagination to envision
that new worlds were possible 
 
On this Tu Bi’shevat
as the almond blossoms are just beginning  to flower
in the ancient cities of our ancestors 
we open our hearts to a community that most of us 
had only just learned the name of
this past Shabbat
 
We continue with them to bloom and flourish
even in the harshest of conditions
and in places where nothing grows
For millennia
our roots have pushed their way up through the cracks
time and time again
 
Dreaming is in our bones
 
From Pittsburgh to Poway to Berlin to Colleyville
and all of the places and times in between 
2018 and now
we are links in a chain that no one wanted to connect
of unimaginable lived experience 
and generational trauma 
 
Where once we had grand illusions of safety
we have come to discover that we are inextricably woven into our collective history
come to repeat itself in unwelcome ways
We have the reluctant opportunity to remind ourselves
that survival is our destiny
 
We sing a new Mi Hamokha in your names today
for you have crossed the sea and come to the other side
bearing the scars of your journey 
 
Today, we plant new trees
that will grow in spite of all we have witnessed 
Our children will be the flowers we produce
and they will have the gift of eternal song
in wide open fields of freedom

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