Poetica Magazine

Poetica Magazine



Is it Good for the Jews?
(An Abecedarian)


by Devon Balwit



Assimilation was something you first sought,

babies born in the New World to escape

Cossack pogroms. But two generations in,

doubts bubble, the young camouflaged so

expertly they now poo-pooh Judaism as a

freakish throwback—black-clad bubbes

gesturing to ward off evil and using Yiddish to

hide anything of interest while serving

inedible food. True, in every generation, one, at least, re-

joins tribe, perhaps in college, starting again to

kindle the Sabbath candles. This one re-

learns the meaning of the holidays, how to

make charoseth and challah, and perhaps says

no to intermarriage. It’s a tricky business, to identify

or turn away—after all, which times and which

places are ever good for the Jews? a

question we laugh about, yet ask…

Recently, ethnicity’s become a badge of pride not

shame, so perhaps the number will grow. Why be

tarred with “white privilege” when a scratch will

unveil cagey survival stories, wits pitted against pernicious

villains? But even then, challenges rear—re: the endless

war in Palestine, the awkward taking of a stand,

x-ing off some boxes to be properly Left and others to be properly

Yid. Tribe, tribe sings in the blood yet

zaps us, a dance we do with pounding heart.