The First Tattoo

I don’t usually write poetry. I’m a prose guy at heart. But this one has been bouncing around my head for a while. In light of the bomb threats to Jewish daycare centers and the desecration of graveyards, it had to come out.

The first tattoo I ever saw,
Was my aunt’s, a pretty songbird.
On her leg.
But first the one I remember

Was late september
And I was four.
On Rosh Hashanna,
On my friend’s father’s lap

Trying not to nap,
I looked to the side.
An old man, or old to me
White beard, yarmulke on head.

And he read
From the prayer book
His white shirt sleeve
Slipped.

And I crept
Closer to see
Green numbers
Six, maybe five

And I tried to ignore
To look away
I didn’t understand
But I knew

I knew I knew I knew
That it was something
Terrible
And I should never speak of it

Never think of it

Forget it

Again.

doge-in-space-card-redux

Chanukah

menorah

This menorah has been in my family since before I was born. It was the one my father and mother lit, and now I keep that tradition alive.

I remember staring into the tiny flames, my head barely above the kitchen counter. I’m staring at them again, but from above.

And I wonder: who will light them when I am gone? Who will keep the tradition alive? Or does it end with me?

Continue reading

War on Christmas?

I promised myself that I would avoid politcal and religious rants here, and yet here I am. It’s because of what happened to me at Shop-Rite today. As I am collecting my bags, the cashier said to me “Merry Christmas.”

Normally this wouldn’t bother me, but today it did. There was something in the tone of his voice; something that implied that Christmas was the only holiday that happens. So what set me off?

  • Maybe it is because we are in the middle of Hannukah (no correct spelling, because the word comes from a different alphabet (an Aleph-Bet!!!  all the jews get it!)
  • Maybe it is because I am obviously Jewish (I had Maneshevitz chicken stock and egg noodles, and he rang them up no more than 30 seconds prior, not to mention that I look Jewish.)
  • Maybe it’s because we live in the county with the HIGHEST POPULATION DENSITY OF JEWS IN THE COUNTRY (Rockland County, NY) and he still acted like Hannukah didn’t exist.

So what did I do? Nothing.  But in my head, this is how the conversation went:

Cashier: Have a merry christmas

Me:  And you have a happy hannukah

Cashier:  But I’m not Jewish

Me:  Oh, I’m sorry.  I thought that we were playing the “presume to know the religion of someone and then condescend to them like a douchebag” game.

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick.  This isn’t Montana.  31% of the population in Rockland is Jewish, is it too hard to say “Happy Holidays?”

And since when did “E Pluribus Unum” mean “In God we trust” (god, of course, being Jesus.)  It means “From Many, One.”  We come from many cultures, and these cultures form together (Like Voltron, or a Megazord) to become one.  It does not mean “You come from many cultures, and then we eat them up and force you to celebrate our holiday through saturation and social shaming.”

And don’t even get me started on Jewish stereotypes in the media . . . (I’ll save that one for another time, maybe tomorrow) But for now, try to think of a Jewish tv character that is not a stereotype.

And Happy fucking holidays.  i have to go light some candles now.

 

 

Hannukah

Also I am not particularly religious, I identify very strongly with my Jewish heritage.  I am very proud of our accomplishments and simply the fact that I can say “I belong to a People that have existed for 3500 years.”  Not many ethnicities can say that.

Of course, those of you who have read my writing (hopefully all of you) can see the influence there.  I recently wrote a short story (still unpublished) called “The Kid and the Casserole” about a jewish man and his shiksa goddess.  He is put in a position where he has to defend his ethnicity against the onslaught of “Whiteness” into his kitchen.  Looking at it now, it might need some revision, but still . . . casseroles and hot shiksas.

I do not have a menorah, and it is Hanukah.  I was hoping to go out and get one today, but I got bogged down with napping (I stayed over at Valerie’s last night and didn’t get much sleep . . . giggity).  I know that most of my family doesn’t care, but I care, and I am disappointed in myself.

Oh well, maybe tomorrow before the Jets’ game.

This is my first blog entry.  Let’s see how it goes . . .