Stranger’s Roots

We have wandered the nomad’s wandering;
Even our name contains the stranger’s roots.
We’ve wondered why they hate us
Why they want to kill us,
Why they can’t recognize the faces of their sons
And daughters and wives and mothers in
Eyes no different than their own.

And over the eons of blood-drenched tears
We fled from nations that expelled us
Countries that forcibly converted us
Peoples that raped, pillaged, and drove us
To lands that would accept us,
Ultimately to the land of the shining lamp,
Our lady of the harbor
And the beckoning for the tempest tossed
To a land of golden embrace.

Here, we were safe,
Even as Hitler ravaged our
European brethren.
We fought, together,
With our gentile sisters and brothers
And vanquished the threat
With love and boundless connection
That beat back the timeless wave of rejection.

The papers and airwaves are filled with grief,
A horror too familiar to the old,
And jarring and frightening to the young still unfolding.
A collective chill passes through us,
Like a death blow running across each synapse,
With pain rebounding through the hate of future past.

But we rejoin the lady’s lamp,
And shadows retreat as
Daylight climbs its spiritual peak
And Jew and gentile,
Turn to our neighbors’ eyes
And recognize
We’re here to help each other stay alive—
Then thrive.

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