Today on social media Bayit is featuring this small poem of mine, alongside art by R. Allie Fischman. When I wrote it, I was thinking about how so many of us out here have beloveds in Israel or in Gaza (or both) and are feeling-with-them from afar. It's something we have in common, those of us linked with one people and those of us linked with the other. (And some of us with both.) Our broken hearts connect us, and I refuse the idea that grief needs to take sides.
Israeli author Etgar Keret spoke about that recently. He said, "And when I see people watching the horrible tragedy that is happening here as if it were a Super Bowl of victimhood, in which you support one team and really don’t care about the other, empathy becomes very, very selective. You see only some pain. You don’t want to see other pain..." (Read his interview here: I Feel A Human Deterioration.)
Anyway, the poem and illustration are part of Our Collective Heartbreak, alongside many other powerful offerings of the heart, and you can find the whole collection by clicking through that link. For those who need the poem in plaintext, it appears below.
For Jews and Palestinians in Diaspora
We’re over here:
Too far to help, but not too far to feel.
We’re not living in a war zone
But we can’t sleep either
Because when someone harms you
We feel pain.
Holding you from afar –
Never really apart.
R. Rachel Barenblat