Saturday, November 13, 2010


Since I got here, made aliyah, I have written a few poems. I have to find the other ones, but this was one that I wrote after I was having a sort of writing slump and hadn't really written for a while. It's in Hebrew, followed by an English translation. Unfortunately, I don't think the English translation really feels the same as the Hebrew. But that's just me. I translate literally.

This was actually something I started when I was at the tekes for Yom Hazikaron (Israel's Memorial Day). I'm not sure I like it as is, it is.

Background for those who are unfamiliar with Yom Hazikaron: It is the Israeli Memorial Day. There is a nation-wide siren at 8 pm that night, then another siren at 11 am. Cars stop driving and people get out and stand, students stand up-- the country pretty much stops for these few minutes. There are ceremonies, the broadcasts are Memorial-day appropriate. The names of those killed for the sake of Israel are read. It's unlike Memorial Day in the States; here there are no sales, but the cemeteries are full of people coming to visit graves of loved ones and friends. It's a day to remember not only the soldiers, but those who were killed in terrorist attacks as well. It's something that must be experienced to fully appreciate and understand it.

תפילה של עולה חדשה ביום הזיכרון

עוצרים, יוצאים, עומדים.
חוזרים לרכב, מצטרפים לטקס.

אני עומדת פה, בקהל, אחת ממאות.
שומעת שירים, ואנשים מדברים על אלו שנרצחו...
אני רק עומדת.
אין לי מישהו שאני מכירה שנהרג, שנרצח.
תודה לאלוקים.
תפילה קטנה יוצאת משפתי—
אנא ה', עשה שילדותי לא יהרגו.
אין לי ילדים עכשיו, אבל תן לי...ותן לי שיחיו.
בנים, בנות—כולם היו.
כולם שייכו לאמא ולאבא ולמשפחה.
ה' ישמור את נפשותם בגן עדן,
ויתן לי שלא אדע מזה.

Prayer of a New Immigrant on Memorial Day

A siren.
Stopping, getting out, standing.
Go back into the car, joining a ceremony.

I stand here, in the crowd, one of hundreds.
I hear poems, and people talking about those who were murdered...
I just stand.
And listen.
I don't have anyone that I know who was killed or murdered.
Thank G-d.
A small prayer leaves my lips--
Please, G-d, don't let my children be killed.
I don't have children now, but give me...and give me that they will live.
Sons, daughters-- they all were.
They all belonged to a mother and a father and a family.
G-d should guard their souls in the Garden of Eden,
And grant me that I should not know from this.

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