Going Through the Motions

by Janet Ruth Falon (Elkins Park, PA)

When you stand, I stand
When you sit, I sit
When you bow, I bend a tiny little bit
When you lift yourselves up to kadosh, kadosh, kadosh
I watch
and when you stretch out your arm
into the aisle
to touch the Torah
and kiss the book in between
I go through the motions
And today
the motion that matters most to me
is staying
still
of not following my self out the door
because nothing is meaning much
and my faith, today,
is only hope
that one moment will matter,
that I’ll connect, once,
to why I’m here
like chaotic shards of metal waiting to be magnetized
and formed into shape, like Wooly Willie’s beard.
I’m dying to connect, once.
So I wait
for I’m not sure what
going through the motions
and staying, still,
as you stand
and sit
and rock
and bow down low
I wait, still,
going through the motions
even though, in truth,
I’m afraid I’ve gone.

Janet Ruth Falon, the author of The Jewish Journaling Book (Jewish Lights, 2004), teaches a variety of writing classes — including journaling and creative expression — at many places, including the University of Pennsylvania. She leads a non-fiction writing group and works with individual students, and is continuing to write Jewish-themed readings for what she hopes will become a book, In the Spirit of the Holidays.

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Filed under American Jewry, Jewish identity

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