8 Tishrei 5781 / Saturday, September 26, 2020 | Torah Reading: Ha'azinu
 
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HomeHolidays and Fast DaysChanukahA Hellenist Left Standing
 
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A Hellenist Left Standing    

A Hellenist Left Standing



At a critical moment before total assimilation, a young lady from Queens remembers that it’s Kislev and not December, and that she’s Jewish, not Greek…

 



It was the twenty-fifth of December,
And when she closes her eyes she remembers,
Just how it was.

A Jewish girl from Queens,
Had fulfilled her secret dreams,
Decorating that bright, forbidden tree.
A Jewish girl from Queens,
Had fulfilled her secret dreams.
She helped hang tinsel merrily.

Her boyfriend's family,
Was friendly as could be.
They had fun watching her delight.
Her boyfriend's family,
Was friendly as could be.
By the fireplace they sang carols that night.

Then they piled into the car.
It wasn't very far.
Greetings called to those they'd pass.
Then they piled into the car.
It wasn't very far.
Each year the family went to Midnight Mass.

But there in a church pew,
She didn't know what to do,
As everyone else bent down to kneel.
But there in a church pew,
She didn't know what to do.
In those moments was her future sealed?

Alone, trembling, she stood,
Still uncertain if she should.
What stopped her from kneeling in that place?
Alone, trembling, she stood,
Still uncertain if she should.
The word "Jew" was stamped on her face.

The twenty-fifth makes her remember,
Because it's Kislev - not December.
She almost fell, like Hellenists of old.
The twenty-fifth makes her remember,
Because it's Kislev - not December.
Once she, too, chose tinsel, not the gold.

So radiant - hidden away.
A golden light, still pure today.
Flashing bulbs can't come near its glow.

So radiant - hidden away.
A golden light, still pure today.
Her Jewish home shines with treasures she didn’t know.

For now many years have passed.
Each Chanukahs spins by so fast.
And as grandchildren light, my past becomes less real.
For now many years have passed.
Each Chanukah spins by so fast.
Standing by lights, I whisper thanks I didn't kneel.


 

 
(Bracha Goetz is the Harvard-educated author of eleven children's books, including Aliza in MitzvahLand, What Do You See at Home? and The Invisible Book. To enjoy Bracha's presentations, you're welcome to email bgoetzster@gmail.com)




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