This has nothing to do with me, this has everything to do with me. 

There is this moment of significant beauty  

A movement of joy, an echo of ages past 

The bliss of being ever-so-present  

Scored with the bounty of history as time 

The young man’s head turns towards the congregation 

And with that, the dance began 

 

It is here that I learned to love you 

In this place, I was moved to respect 

May my memory never forget you 

And my heart always filled with your grace 

 

A few choice words are spoken  

A parade? no, it’s more than that 

The bittersweet celebration 

Of a people, a place, a time 

With care, the Torah is lifted high above 

With singing, praise and much more 

 

It is here that I learned to love you 

In this place, I was moved to respect 

May my memory never forget you 

And my heart always filled with your grace 

 

With a circular movement, they swirl  

Bobbing around the Temple they move  

I feel the music, God’s presence and blessing 

My heart is about to burst  

This is more than one man can take 

A glimpse of Eternity searing through 

 

It is here that I learned to love you 

In this place, I was moved to respect 

May my memory never forget you 

And my heart always filled with your grace 

 

With collective prayer my eyes find closure 

Facing Jerusalem my soul seeks answers 

The still small voice found in the wind 

‘These are My people and I love them’ 

Were these my people; did I lose them? 

A question is more than its answer 

 

It is here that I learned to love you 

In this place, I was moved to respect 

May my memory never forget you 

And my heart always filled with your grace 

 

This short poem is my attempt to express the ways by which I was moved when I attended the Exeter synagogue many years ago. Back then I was exploring a family story that I had Jewish ancestry. The local Jewish community were very kind, considerate and filled with love and understanding. I did not convert to Judaism. I did, however, go on to read Rabbi Sacks works and to this day read with care his weekly Parsha. My love and care for the Jewish people, their rights, plights and challenges seem a part of me somehow. I find myself confronting anti-Semitism and in a modest way supporting children living in Israel. 

 

I have just completed reading this weeks Parsha from Rabbi Sacks and he mentions DNA and the roles of nature and nurture and this reminded me of the requirement to include the next piece of the story. I loved hearing of the giving nature or disposition of the Jewish people. What a beautiful value and characteristic.

http://rabbisacks.org/on-jewish-character-pekudei-5779/

This is because a few weeks ago I had my DNA analysed. As you can see I do not have any Jewish DNA. It is hard to explain how disappointed I was. I guess over time, as you come to relate to, appreciate, care and even love a people and that this is understandable to some extent? The story had taken root in my soul so to speak. In my imagination I had come to see the Jewish people as somehow connected to me in a lost sense.

In many respects this has been a genuine lesson for me on the benefits of really getting to know and understand other cultures. What if we could all get ‘under the story’ of the Jewish people and come to appreciate them as I had done? This is the play on the idea that antisemitism has ‘nothing’ to do with me from a genetic lens, but in contrast ‘everything to do with me’ from how I feel about this great people of The Book. In this sense, facing into and fighting against Anti-Semitisim has everything to do with me: all of us in fact?

I met with some colleagues in Oxford last weekend to explore the ‘letting go’ of an old story and what this signified for me, psychologically speaking. It was very helpful. (Another story for another time).

6 Comments

  1. Adriana Huerta

    Jason, I can feel your heart in this poem, and your belonging to a Greater Whole. I enjoyed reading and somehow dancing with it. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Hugs,
    Adriana

  2. Marie Huxtable

    Hi Jase I found your poem and commentary at the end very emotionally moving. I don’t know what else to say except to say thank you. M

  3. Paul Pivcevic

    Jason I admire you enormously for plunging into this inquiry so fully and with so much heart. What an example you are. A beautiful poem, describing an experience almost beyond words. P

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