“Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”
Seated in Atlanta’s Temple for the Bar Mitzvah
of the son of a friend,
my eyes wander in search of scars
from its bombing now sixty years gone by.*
While her son, who in a moment will be a man,
reads in Hebrew of the rivalry between Jacob and Esau –
the Jacob who became Israel and fathered the twelve tribes,
I note that Germany’s Kristallnacht
terror began on this day,
some eighty years now passed.
As the Rabbi stands to speak
Of the future of promise for this child-man,
I recall that his Bar Mitzvah long ago
was held in the Pittsburgh synagogue
where a dozen were killed by a shooter,
one for each tribe, only a dozen days now gone.
I do not belong to this temple, to any other,
nor even to the children of Abraham.
But sitting here in a place
choosing to look forward and not back,
in a world darkened by sibling spite
hope is still a flickering candle,
a child becomes a man,
and of such small promise
all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
*The story of The Temple Bombing is chronicled in the excellent book of the same name by Melissa Fay Green.