fake [submission]

I feel like a fake

I don’t feel jewish enough

I feel like I want to hurt the people that made my great grandma and great grandpa and great great uncle feel so ashamed and scared

That they forced their children to stop practicing. And they stopped.

And they left behind G-d because they said She had turned Her eyes from them

And I want to cry because when my grandma tried to be jewish her husbands

One after the other

Every failed marriage

They beat her down over and over and over

And when my mom taught me about Passover

Passover

Not Pesach

Passover

Because my goyische father

And his goyische family

And all of the goyim in my life

Made it bad to do anything that wasn’t christianized

And when I wanted to be jewish and I wanted to learn my great grandma took that internalized HATRED and called me

Shiksa Goddess

and she hit me

(a small eight year old with big watery blue eyes and the longest tangle of blonde hair to be found for miles)

(no one on my mothers side has hair like mine)

until I cried the bitter tears that she could never let herself cry

Because she had to be Strong.

And I want to scream and cry and hurt them like they’ve hurt me

And I want to hate my great grandma but

Sarah just did what she had to do

So aptly named

She took life in stride and looked for other solutions and I want to be Sarah but I am not that strong

And I am not strong

I am not strong

And I just want to cry.

  • damnatians.tumblr.com

passover [submission]

passover (poem) [submission from hamletrash.tumblr.com]

remember when your skin first felt like a

disease, like every pore if you squeezed it

would spit cold cyanide

remember when you were a slave in the house of bondage

remember the blood on your thighs. remember

the plague of boils, the plague of blood,

the plague of cattle disease

(you used to have a toy a

cow with a button on its foot

push the button and its joints buckled

and collapsed)

pretending as you

scrubbed your sheets

that this was the blood of a man you’d killed

remember that spring when god peeled your skin off and ate it like bread

the terror of how your zipped coat

looked when you sat down

the waves and bubbles the zipper made.

like eve under trees

the sudden alien weight of her body

this is the bread of affliction

god spits blood in the river, god

whispers into your bed

kisses your neck full of boils

god in a breath of lice that squirm through

your firstborn’s hair

god bound between your eyes and

upon the doorposts of your houses

god’s blood in the nile

lamb’s blood on the door

cows’ blood in the fields

your blood in the sink

stick your smallest finger in the wine

take heart

In times of sorrow, take heart, even

though you stand at deaths door: the

candle flares up before it dies,

and wounded lions roar.

  • Samuel Ibn Naghrila/ Samuel haNagid

anonymous submission

“diaspora poem?” [anonymous submission]

some nights when i’m alone, my thoughts run strange:

that my heart is a homeland,

pumping culture and language and identity

through rivers, over mountains.

nearer to my heart are the organs that are strong:

my lungs are my ancestors, receiving the most blood,

next my digestive system is my parents—

not as rich, yet not as poor as me—

because i am housed within my hands and feet.

i am choked by the circulation problems i’ve had since i was born,

and my hands and feet are cold and weak

like my sense of identity

like my connection with eretz yisrael

like my understanding of those other jews.

at which point can the dysfunctional body flourish,

when the heart is a homeland that cannot reach over distances,

when there are far more important places

for that blood to reach?

i want to reach out in the dark for answers,

but my feeble hands clutch at nothing

nothing but the drowning call of diaspora.

ask

Anonymous:  How do you define whiteness? I am an Ashkenazi Jew and racially I have always identified as white. I’ve always called Judaism my religion and ethnicity, not my race. After reading some of your posts, I can understand why you consider Judaism to be a race (the whole wiping us out because of our bloodline thing is a pretty good example) but that would mean you consider race to be not only as a set of specific physical features, but a specific bloodline as well. I think most of the confusion with this lies in people defining “race” as only a set of physical features, rather than blood groups. Considering how I look like I could be a goy from Europe, I have always identified as a white person and other people have always called me white too. So I guess my other question is, is it possible for me to describe my race as both white and Jewish? Or is my race not white at all and I just have white-passing privilege?

hobbitballerina.tumblr.com:

Race, and whiteness, is a social and cultural construction about how people talk about themselves and how they perceive and categorise others based on largely immutable traits. Race as only physiological appearance is a naive way to think about it, as it ignores the ways race plays out culturally — race and whiteness in Brazil is different than race and whiteness in the US, for example. These cultural contexts grew up out of colonialism, imperialism, encounters with native groups, and the religious contexts of the society in which they flourished. You cannot separate race from culture — it isn’t a native category in biology, for example. It is a taxonomy that arose in Western Europe to sort the world into greater and lesser categories of humans, based on the ideal of the Western Christian (often Protestant) male. It came out of the 17th century, and grew up in a context that needed a way to talk about social others in Western Europe that wasn’t simply a religious one — dividing the world between Christians and non-Christians was more complex after the wars of religion in the 16th century, and the call to evangelise colonial holdings made inferiority on a basis of religious status difficult. The idea of race stepped into that space and gave Western Europeans a way to subjugate and divide the world that justified slavery, discrimination, eugenics, genocide, and all other efforts to civilise or eliminate inferior races, creating the world we know today.

In my work as an academic and in my personal understanding of the world, race encompasses cultures, ethnicities, language, religion, and social roles, as well as the obvious physical traits associated with the idea of race. Because I work in history of religion, I cannot separate the idea of race from its original social and historical context. Whiteness is a conflation of privileges, of which colour is only one. Jewishness has been a reviled category for nearly 2000 years, and as the idea of race developed, Jewishness became a racial trait. This is why the Nazis didn’t care if you converted to Christianity — you still had Jew blood. They took this sense of race from the American “one drop” rule (as in, one drop of African-American blood anywhere in your lineage made you not white), which dominated American eugenics and politics. Religion was not the issue for Jewishness. It was a question of blood, lineage, and ultimately, race.

I can’t tell you how you’re supposed to identify. I can’t tell you if your Jewishness is a racial experience for you. That is ultimately your call, and has everything to do with how you move in the world, how you interact with the people around you, and your experience of being other. New York Ashkenazi Jews have a totally different experience of Jewishness and whiteness that I, as a Sephardic Jewish woman in the South, cannot imagine or access. I tend to view myself personally as white-passing, given my encounters with violent antisemitism throughout my life that was predicated not on my religiosity, but on my appearing Jewish. How you want to describe your experience is up to you. But for me, my Jewishness is a racial category. With a family experience of the Inquisition targeting us both as Jews and as cristãos-novos/marranos, I can’t get away from it.

ask

Anonymous: hi! sorry to trouble you, but im having a really hard time knowing how to identify. im ashkenazi jewish but my family and i dont look anything like most ashkenazi people i know/see on tv? literally every single person in my family/extended family/ancestry has dark skin and looks very not white. like for example my grandpa had medium brown skin, a “scary middle eastern beard”, curly black hair, big hooked nose, very full lips, etc. however, my dad has light tan skin and mom is a white goy. my brother and sister have dark skin but im pale like mom and have some euro features. i dont feel like i fit in anywhere. i definitely experience some white privilege but im never accepted as white. and since im white passing, identifying as a POC would be like saying “im not white im jewish!” i have no idea what race i am, or what race my family is. i dont know why we look different than other european jews. everyone says ashkenazi = white but my familys not white! its so confusing.

littlegoythings.tumblr.com:

THIS IS NORMAL. YOU ARE NORMAL. YOUR FAMILY IS NORMAL.

Many, MANY Ashkenazim are not pale even a little bit. Ashkenazi PoC are not unicorns. Brown Ashkenazim are normal. Many Ashkenazim are white-skinned, yes, but many Ashkenazim are also NOT. This diversity is normal! The TV lies.

You are a Jew, you are Ashkenazi, and however you choose to identify – white, PoC, white-passing, whatever – YOU ARE STILL JEWISH, and you are still one of us, 100%.

You are normal, your family is normal, and you are all beautiful.

everything else is a consequence

jewish history is not the holocaust

it is not the thousands of years of galus

of wandering exile, of remorse and disgrace.

it is not the inquisition, it is not the transition

from being golden kings of judah and yisrael to hidden scholars in babylon

from purveyors to seekers, from scholars to archaeologists.

it is not the story of revolts and submissions

of conversions and revelations,

of family secrets and underground bunkers.

jewish history is not the history of war

it is not the history of reclamation

it’s not the history of separation or desperation

and don’t you dare tell me it is a history in the middle of its final chapter.

“what do you have left then?” they ask, honest and curious

it’s a very good question. sometimes i don’t know.

(sometimes, though, when the light enters the sanctuary from the right angle

so early in the morning that my eyes are heavy and the words

modeh ani are thick on my lips, sometime i am filled

with the generations of people who have uttered these prayers before

who will say them again when i have returned to dust,

who will find in them old and new meaning, who will remember me

for the stories i passed down, for the blood i kept alive,

and i remember what my grandfather told me before he died:

jewish history is the promise of thousands of stars that was given to avraham.

everything else is a consequence.)

  • two-zuzim.tumblr.com