February 27, 2020

Doing Jewish – A poem for Parsha Chayei Sarah

…you will not take a wife for my son from
the daughters of the Canaanites…

When I worked for Hillel, the organization’s motto
was a memorable maximizing the number of Jews

doing Jewish with other Jews. All the kids and
much of the staff had a good laugh at the

implications of the word doing. It didn’t take a
cabal of Yentas to know Hillel was simply following

the directions of Abraham…making sure his son
kept doing Jewish. Abraham’s words were the

Genesis (Get it? That’s the name of the book they
come from) of the You should marry a nice Jewish

[insert pronoun of choice] concept. I think of them
when my son, the Isaac in training, tells about

all the people he has crushes on at his school.
Usually it’s only one at a time. He has no concern

about whether they come from the same tent.
In his view, the world is one large open tent

where everyone belongs and can do each other.
He has no idea yet what the word do means.

(At least I’d like to think so.) I like the world
he lives in, where our traditions can thrive

holding hands with even a Canaanite neighbor.
If you go back far enough, and at this point

that’s only four chapters, we all come from
the same garden. The taste of the apple

is still in our mouths.

God Wrestler: a poem for every Torah Portion by Rick LupertLos Angeles poet Rick Lupert created the Poetry Super Highway (an online publication and resource for poets), and hosted the Cobalt Cafe weekly poetry reading for almost 21 years. He’s authored 23 collections of poetry, including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion“, “I’m a Jew, Are You” (Jewish themed poems) and “Feeding Holy Cats” (Poetry written while a staff member on the first Birthright Israel trip), and most recently “Hunka Hunka Howdee!” (Poems written in Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville – Ain’t Got No Press, May 2019) and edited the anthologies “Ekphrastia Gone Wild”, “A Poet’s Haggadah”, and “The Night Goes on All Night.” He writes the daily web comic “Cat and Banana” with fellow Los Angeles poet Brendan Constantine. He’s widely published and reads his poetry wherever they let him.

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