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The other story in this week's Torah portion: Judah and Tamar

New poem, On Joseph and solitary confinement, at T'ruah

Logo_webOnce again, T'ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights is encouraging the observance of Human Rights Shabbat in early December -- a Shabbat dedicated to learning about, and rededicating ourselves to, the work of human rights in our world.

They've just put a set of Human Rights Shabbat resources online. Those resources include kavanot (mindful intentions) to hold in mind and heart, such as this kavanah for Mi Chamocha by Rabbi Jill Hammer [pdf]; a Prayer for human rights by Rabbi David Friedenberg [pdf]; and also a new poem of mine, On Joseph and solitary confinement [pdf]. My poem draws on the set of weekly parshiyot into which we are entering this week -- the Joseph novella -- and then moves from the Torah story to injustice in the prison system today.

Here's how my poem begins:

When Joseph was jailed, wrongly accused
of seducing his master’s wife, what did he feel?

Did he remember his first stint in solitary,
the pit where his brothers threw him --

empty of water but crawling with scorpions,
empty of Torah but reeking with resentment?

Each time he prepared to start over
life cast him down someplace worse.

But he knew all along that God was with him
and that God meant everything for good...

You can download my poem, as well as many other terrific resources for Human Rights Shabbat, on the T'ruah Human Rights Shabbat resources page.