April 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Bruriah’s Rebecca Guzman Places First in Corona Reflections Student Writing Contest

Shift

 Our hospitals have turned into morgues,

and our doctors into slaves.

Our houses have become the most comfortable of prisons,

where we wait to carry out a sentence of undetermined length.

Our synagogues remain deserted each morning,

afternoon,

and night,

aching from the absence

of the melodious Shabbat song

that they haven’t heard for weeks.

We did not taste our grandmothers’ matzoh ball soup this year,

and we did not hear our uncles sing Dayenu.

We each opened our doors for Eliyahu

praying we would find Mashiach instead,

standing at our doorsteps with arms outstretched.

We wished he was there saying to us,

“Come, my children, your wait is over.

Cry no more.”

But all we saw were empty streets,

or our neighbors waving bittersweetly

as they mirrored us.

All of us just confused Jews,

following an ancient custom

practiced thousands of years ago

by the holy men with clarity we so desperately seek.

And all we felt were repressed tears,

pushed to the edge,

ready to fall after three cups of wine

and the reading of Maggid.

Our hospitals are home to miracles,

and our doctors are superheroes.

Our houses have brought us four walls closer to our families,

where we have so much time to develop stronger relationships

with the people that we love,

and with ourselves.

Our synagogues remain in wait for us each morning,

afternoon,

and night.

Confident that they will soon hear

the melodious Shabbat songs

that they have not heard for weeks.

This time more beautiful and powerful

than they had ever known them to be sung.

We learned how to make our grandmothers’ matzoh ball soup this year,

and came up with our own tunes for Dayenu.

We each opened our doors for Eliyahu

and were truly ready,

for the first time,

to follow Mashiach into the unknown

if we found him there instead.

We could practically hear him saying to us,

“Be strong, my children,

your wait is almost over.”

We see only suffering,

until we choose to shift perspectives.

All of us just confused Jews,

now being tested with the greatest of tests,

and taught the most important of lessons,

by the Father who is in control.

We follow ancient customs

practiced thousands of years ago

by the holy men with emunah we must emulate.

And all we feel is pain,

beating our souls blue

until we cover them in armor

by deciding to search for the good.

By Rebecca Guzman

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