Yom Hashoah

Yom Hashoah

A Poem by Jessica Harmony

In honor of Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.

 

An open letter to the boys in the hallways of my middle school telling the joke:

 

What's the difference between a Jew and a pizza?

Pizzas don't scream when they are put in the oven!

 

I was silent when I heard you in the hallway

The way

My ancestors were when they found their broken stores

After kristallnacht.

You threw these words around just like rocks

And broke my glass windows

I should have spoken up

But

At 12 that’s tough when

To me

All religion was

Was Sunday school

So I didn’t think it was worth it.

 

At 13

I invited these same boys to my bat mitzvah

Because at that age popularity

Was more important than the profanity

about Jews that was falling out of their ignorant mouths

 

At 14

I hated my nose

Because it was “too Jewish” for me

Wanted to be someone

Who was not singled out by their religion

 

 

At 15

Gave up on God and Judaism

As if Nazis would have cared about my blonde hair

There were Jews saying prayers

before they were gassed

as the last thing they would do with their lives

but I wanted nothing to do with it.

 

At 16

Refused to go to temple with my parents

On the most important holiday of the year

As if being seen there

would somehow make me “more Jewish”

I didn’t want to be targeted.

Vehemently insisted

I was only atheist.

 

At 17

Wrote this poem

Realized how immature it was

To give up thousands of years of a fight

To keep a religion alive

That I refused to be a part of

I might not believe in god

But I do believe in the 6 million Jews

That walked without shoes

For miles in snow

Trying to keep each other warm because

Judaism is less of a religion and more of a community

There is unity

In numbers

 

You saw me at the end of the hallway

Said

“It’s just a joke. No offense”

As if there were no fence

No guarded walls

Keeping Jews in ghettos and camps

As if your hands

Didn’t raise in class

Like SS infantry

As if my days wouldn’t have been numbered

In 1943

As if my religion didn’t mean anything to me

 

I should have spoken up

But at the time

I wasn’t brave enough

 

There was not enough air

Not enough breath

Trapped inside gas showers to be poisoned to their death

And

You

Had the nerve to tell me

“get over it.”

 

Did you know?

The word Holocaust

Comes from the Greek word Holokauston

Meaning, “sacrifice by fire”

Did you mean to throw me like kindle into your heart?

Mean to burn me at the stake

For having a religion with a name that didn’t quite match yours.

Don’t expect to get on board with it

Like they boarded them

Up in boxcars

Put them in trains

Transported them from ghettos to camps

And you have the audacity

to say this to me.

I should have said

La’olam lo od

Never again

Never again

Never again will I let the injustice

Be just this: a cry of hate in a sea of acceptance

 

I should have spoken up

But at the time

I wasn’t brave enough. 

© 2014 Jessica Harmony


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Added on June 13, 2014
Last Updated on June 13, 2014

Author

Jessica Harmony
Jessica Harmony

Denver, CO



About
Just another number, darling. Nothing to the world. Bet I'm a statistic, baby. Just the broken girl. I'm 17. I love to write poetry and i'm currently writing a novel. Most of my poems on her.. more..

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