Laura Wagner

Mourner’s Kaddish

In memory of Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger who were murdered in an antisemitic attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and Lori Gilbert-Kaye who was murdered in the attack at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue. May their memories be of a blessing.

Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba.

The sound of the shofar
fades into gun shots,
as we welcome in the new year.
The blood sticky and sweet,
like the honey we eat with our red apple slices.
In the White House,
the president will not condemn this violence,
will not call this hatred by its name.
Our congregation cloaked in black,
resisting the hunger that gnaws at our stomachs.
The covered mirrors leave little room for self reflection;
weighed down by Jewish guilt,
without ever really knowing why.
Repentance is found in the form of self denial,
so we will not take the time to grieve.

B’alma di v’ra chirutei, v’yamlich malchutei, b’chayeichon uv’yomeichon uv’chayei d’chol beit Yisrael.

The victims left in the year behind us,
carried away like bread crumbs
in a river current.
Each year Adonai looks back on everything we have done;
Determines which names will be inscribed
into the Book of the Living
for the coming year.
And somehow,
so many of the people sitting here
in this synagogue,
bent over their siddurim in prayer,
must not have made the cut.

Baagala uviz’man kariv v’im’ru, Amen.

The identity of the shooter will be released inevitably,
and for a few days his will become a household name;
His face plastered across newspapers
and television screens.
The story picked up by mainstream media,
only to be carried away in the current,
replaced by the next tragedy.
The world will forget about the blood spilled in our synagogue,
will forget the names of those that died here,
and we, the congregation, left helpless
and mourning.

Laura Wagner is a college student studying English and secondary education. Her work has been published in print and online in Teen Ink magazine. Her writing centers around her experiences and identity as a Jewish woman.

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