I feel like a Yom Kippur failure
Showering to feel clean in my soul
Eating so I can contemplate my life
Instead of fixating on my hunger
Loving you with my body
Because it heals my deepest wound
And opens the channel to the Divine

I feel like a Yom Kippur failure
Sitting in the corner on the couch
Writing down my thoughts
Instead of going to services
And reciting someone else’s prayers
By men for men about men
Beseeching Gd to forgive me
For men’s crimes against women  
Like the ones perpetrated
Against me
As a little girl
Never acknowledged
Never repented
Never soothed
Individually or collectively
Ultimately ousting me from community

I feel like a Yom Kippur failure
Driving to therapy
So I can talk about whom to forgive
And how
So that I can chart the path forward
In healing the wounds of
And potentially restoring
The first relationships I ever had

I feel like a Yom Kippur failure
Wearing all white
The last vestige of my heritage
As I stand so far on the outskirts
That I am not even in the neighborhood anymore
Lacking entirely
The impulse or energy
To open the door to the so-called sanctuary
And subject myself
To your toxic masculinity
Seizing every opportunity
To dominate impose destroy
As my knowledge and ability
Fade
And I am not only bereft
But also incapable of leading anymore
Which is exactly where you wanted me
In the first place
Just like our enemies

I feel like a Yom Kippur failure
When my non-Jewish boyfriend
Shines light in my heart through my soul
Guiding me
Helping me understand
That I am actively going above and beyond
Diving deep inside
To extract the purity
Of your word Gd
Which has been distorted by the self-appointed gatekeepers
Of our heritage
But who am I
Who am I to effectively defy
The millennia of teachings and ways
That came before me

Elohai abraham yishaq yaaqob moshe aharon yosef wedaweed
WeLoolwa
WeLoolwa

Adding my name to the lineage
Asserting my voice my way my perception my being
Billed a heretic as a direct result of my devotion
The same way this family labels me a villain
For having sharing enacting a vision
Of a different way
Than the violence pretense and subjugation
Passed down from generation to generation
Rolled into the fabric of this glorious tradition
For who knows how long

I feel like a Yom Kippur failure
Daughter of my convert mother
Who chose this path
Your Gd is my Gd
Swallowing it whole hook line and sinker
A parrot a mouthpiece
For my Iraqi Jewish father

I feel like a Yom Kippur failure
This punk rocker
Who has bestowed up on me
The authorization to
Bring my Being into the picture
Commenting on engaging with Questioning Challenging
What we do how we do it and with whom

I feel like a Yom Kippur failure
Inside outside
Part of excommunicated from
The outlier the odd one
You can’t understand
Didn’t give permission to speak
And yet here I am shouting
Yom teruah
Crying out for awareness of
The nuances complexities interwoven threads
Just like the Ivrim
Border crossers

And then I realize
I am the spitting image
Of my ancestors
And that in risking being
A Yom Kippur failure
I have done the soul searching cleansing
That this holy day is all about


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©2019 by Loolwa Khazzoom. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be copied without author’s permission.