Remember My Name

by Arlene Chernow
URJ Outreach Specialist

Welcoming InterfaithWhen I started working with non-Jewish moms raising Jewish children in our synagogues, I would often hear a variation of the following idea.  “When we were married, we decided to have Jewish family, a choice I love. The children love our temple community and their religious school. I love it too.   They come home from school singing about Shabbat. They tell me stories about the holidays, they love to light the Chanukkiah and eat latkes and I love to share these experiences with them.  There are moments however when I feel invisible in our family. I hope that my husband and children appreciate the gift I am giving them.”  I wrote this poem to remind us of the gifts the Jewish people have received throughout the generations from our non-Jewish moms.


By  Arlene Sarah Chernow

You remember my husband,
You tell his story,
He saved his family from famine,
They became the Jewish people.
He became a trusted advisor of Pharaoh.
He made his brothers jealous.
They sold him into slavery,
but he forgave them because he wanted to
see his father one more time.
His name was Joseph.You remember my sons,
Ephraim and Manesseh.
Every Shabbat you bless your sons
Asking God to make your sons like my sons.

You remember my father-in-law, Jacob.  He became Israel.

I was the daughter of a priest,
I was given to Joseph as his wife by Pharaoh.
My father was the priest of On, an Egyptian city.
Joseph told me stories about the Hebrew people.
For many years Joseph did not know if he would
ever see his family again.
He wanted his sons to know about his people,
He wanted his sons to be a part of his people.
Joseph loved his family and their traditions.

It was up to me.
I loved Joseph.
His children were the greatest gift I could give to his people.

All I ask is,
When you tell these stories,
Please remember my name.
My name is Aseneth.


Arlene Sarah Chernow, Outreach Specialist in the Congregational Consulting Group, has worked for the Union for Reform Judaism for twenty-five years.

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3 Responses to “Remember My Name”

  1. avatar

    What a lovely sentiment – and interesting history new to me, too.

  2. avatar
    Rabbi Bruce S. Block Reply December 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    What a powerful poem. Thank you for writing it, Arlene. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. avatar

    As an Episcopalian who raised three Jewish sons, your poem touched me deeply. Thank you!

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