By Danielle Wright, NFTY-CAR member and Co-President of ChAmPY. She has also spent the last two summers at URJ Camp OSRUI.
This piece was originally submitted for a class unit on spoken word.
To all the kids who are misunderstood because of their religion.
No one should be asked “Do you speak Jewish”
No, I don’t.
And if you are too ignorant to understand your own stupidity, then *sigh*
You need an education
You need parents who not only teach you Coexistence,
but also practice it themselves.
You need to know that I am proud of who I am.
And your stupidity isn’t attractive.
To the kids who always say “Shalom”
as if that is the only way I will talk to you.
You need to know that I know other words.
No one should be told “Watch yourself, you Jew”
To the kids who are asked “What is that?”
as they stare at the 6 pointed figure hanging around my neck.
Don’t you know your shapes?
Who think that Hebrew is the devil,
and look at its characters like a circus act.
To the kids who are asked “Do you have horns?”
All because of one wrong interpretation.
It’s not my fault that hundreds of years ago
some schmuck couldn’t understand worn out ink.
Here’s to the kids who fill their weekend meeting “Jew People”
and come back sick
with no voice
hundreds of pictures and
hours of priceless memories
only to have someone say
“How was your Jew weekend?”
It was amazing, thank you.
To all the kids who spend their Friday nights
under stained glass windows.
Belting out the chorus of their favorite hymn.
Wrapped in sacred cloth that their Bubbie bought
for their Bat Mitzvah.
To the kids who don’t have a place they call “home” for the summer.
This one is for the kids who
don’t have any staff members to idolize,
stories about jumping off a cabin roof,
memories of late night sneak-outs,
sore throat from a thrilling song sessions,
pictures of camp friends,
giggles from dirty jokes,
or who have never been away from home for more than 3 days.
To the kids who are misunderstood because
going to “Jew Camp”
is a foreign idea.
Yet we wait 309 days,
27 minutes and
22 seconds for the bus to depart for next summer.
This is for the kids who display an Israeli flag with a little shame.
Ashamed that a part of all Jews lives is a little shame.
Historically we are people afraid of our religion.
To the kids who are guilty today and hide their silver necklace with a sweatshirt.