Unwanted Element

by Michal Mahgerefteh (Norfolk, VA)


“Whenever a mortal man uplifts with arrogance his heart,
scholar or prophet, all his gifts shall soon from him depart.”
                                 

The Talmud

Black kippah, black hat and black jacket are your refuge?
You stand on the bima in a white tunic shouting to my chaverim,
“Avoid her Shabbat meals.” In my still soul I feel like a dumb lamb led to the altar.

But against me you have no prayers that separate me from the Circle of David,
decompose my Sephardic essence nor ostracize me from the house of God.

Slowly I understand; your power magnifies littleness. All you do is blow ash 
on the golden cherubim, smearing the name of El Elyon. The Talmud teaches 
that our personal growth and spiritual maturity is an ongoing effort: 

“God caused not His presence on Israel to rest, ’til their labor had shown
of their merit test.” Please understand we are not black or white, we are
cloaked in fabric of many colors.

Michal Mahgerefteh is an award-winning Israeli-American poet, the author of five poetry chapbooks, managing editor of Poetica Magazine, and an active member of The Poetry Society of Virginia. Michal is currently writing her next chapbook, FishMoon, forthcoming May 2022. If you’d like to read more of her work, visit her website: www.Mitak-Art.com

1 Comment

Filed under American Jewry, Israel Jewry, Jewish, Jewish identity, Jewish writing, Judaism, poetry

One response to “Unwanted Element

  1. “Please understand we are not black or white, we are
    cloaked in fabric of many colors.”
    I can certainly relate to the above lines I’m not the typical Jew. I am black, and I am very comfortable in my black, Jewish skin. A couple of months ago, I went to a predominantly Jewish area in Chicago. This was about an hour and a half from where I lived in the next State to the southeast. I was surprised and amused by the attention I was garnering from mostly the children. I’m sure they do not see someone like me everyday. I did feel like an anomaly. I really like the analogy of the Cloak of many colors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s