by Kayla Schneider-Smith (Rishon LeZion, Israel)
Bubby holds up a fist and makes a
zero with her fingers
This is how “Jewish”
Reform Jews are to me,
she shuffles me through crowded markets where
boiling men wear summer coats and study
their feet as we pass them
step to the side, step to the side,
Bubby goads, but all I hear is
make yourself smaller,
make yourself zero
Bubby buys me a white shirt
and a white skirt for Yom Kippur
the way she thumbs through the racks and lights up when
she finds something right
makes me feel like she loves me
so that each time the hot familiar anger rises
I remember how she bought me a Yom Kippur outfit and
walked me through the city with her rolling shopping bag and
poured me iced coffee slushies and
paid for taxi rides home and told me
I’m waiting for you to wake up
Wake up to what, Bubby?
to your God who
invalidates my God?
to my God who challenges yours?
Kayla Schneider-Smith is a poet, musician, and social activist from Monmouth County, New Jersey. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, she recently completed the Yahel Social Change Fellowship in Rishon LeZion, Israel, where she taught English, piano and guitar to children, adults and senior citizens in a small neighborhood called Ramat Eliyahu. Kayla is currently pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Writing at The University of San Francisco and working as the Mindful Arts Program Coordinator at the San Francisco Education Fund. She aspires to be an English professor, Rabbi, or Interfaith Minister one day.
If you’d like to read some of her work in prose, visit: https://www.yahelisrael.com/single-post/2018/11/27/To-Be-Or-Not-to-Be-Progressive-Judaism-in-Israel