Rosalind G. is one of my most cherished friends in the universe and she just happens to be Jewish.  And though she married a good Christian boy (Methodist no less) with a Tennessee pedigree much deeper than mine,
Rosalind has never abandoned her Jewish roots.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ, מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם…
Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha`olam...
"Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe

I’ve heard her speak it from the Jewish Siddur (prayer book)
in Hebrew
more than once.

A lover of all things-language,
it was music to my ears.
A heavenly seduction!
I hear it still.

For as long as I have known this gutsy Brooklyn-bred, she has embraced her
twin heritage with chutzpah!
A self-proclaimed “Jewish-Christian,” says she.
When her Appalachian university colleagues scratched their heads at what sort of ‘animal’ she might be, she smiled with unrestrained satisfaction
at the richness of her faith
and the poverty of their unknowing.
Oh she tried fitting in,
but her energy was always the greatest extended.
Some souls remain content in their naïveté,
or is it dispassion?

My friend enjoys a dual citizenship.
Yahweh’s twice favored.
Perhaps the laugh is on us!
At least that’s how I see it.

So when my friend Roz called a few days ago, grief-stricken over the senseless carnage of her eleven siblings in the Squirrel Hill Tree of Life Temple, just outside Pittsburg, PA, I mourned the travesty with her as well as that of millions of other Jewish souls snuffed out across time in their prime by the hatred, bigotry and
insufferable ignorance of humanity.

More than ever, my friend in her D.C. suburbs seems light years away from my Pacific Northwest home.
I want to collapse the coastlines between us.
I want to hold her
and rock her
and sing to her a sweet lullaby that
one day,
she will be free from this world
that has always
to hate
her kind.

From this coastline, other arms will enfold her.
And I pray solace has found her,
at least enough for restorative sleep.
Her activism is a stranger to rest.

Back on the phone, Roz queries.
If I send a special gift your way, I wonder if you would be offended?
Or would you wear it in solidarity with the Jewish brothers and sisters this world-  over who stand against hatred in every manner in which it presents itself?
Would you wear it for me?

You can place it under your Sunday cleric robe or display it
in the broad light of day--
whichever your comfort level
or that of your people.

I could only imagine.

It arrived yesterday in the mail-- her promised parcel.
And when I opened it, out fell this treasure.
An imaginative gold-crafted symbol
of her ambidextrous faith.
At last I could ‘see’ it!
The beautiful marriage of
a star
and a cross--
tell-tale signs of a great King
of two traditions.
One and the same who rules in both
her heart and mine.
With gusto!

So, you’ll understand dear family and friends, when I wear this sign boldly.
For Roz
and all the others.

In Solidarity

A sister can do no other.


  1. Dennis Sizemore says

    To combat prejudice we must recognize and because we learned it early in life…discrimination is a choice…the Pittsburgh shooter did not see human beings so was for to choose to discriminate. Leslie and I grew up in Indianapolis and thus had many Jewish friends but many of our relatives were overtly prejudiced. Throughout our 50 + years together we have chosen not to be. One our Jewish friends fixed us up on a blind date October 26, 1965 and the rest is history. As a Jewish friend of mine recently said in reference to recent anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz…..We must never forget and the same goes for the Pittsburgh attack. We can’t dismiss him as just an insane individual, for too many of his brethren live among us…..We must never forget and we must make our feelings known. Just as Michelle has done.

    • Marty Stiven says

      Thank you for your insight Dennis. Yes it is a choice!

  2. Susan Ford says

    Perhaps, when you retire someday, you should write a book? You are very gifted.

  3. Connie Braun says

    Beautifully captivating.

  4. Becky Huntting says

    Your “poem” is like celestial music. I, too, would wear it with joy! Blessings ever.

  5. Stephanie Soares Pump says

    I too would wear this. What a beautiful symbol of how things could be if we’d only stop hate. Wear it proudly Michelle!

  6. Vicki Hook says

    What a beautiful symbol of love, friendship & faith!

  7. Pat moffitt says

    What a beautiful message. A reminder to love all our neighbors and see and appreciate the diversity that surrounds us.

  8. Barbara Buckley says

    Your ability to express such beautiful feelings is wonderful. Thank you…

  9. Joan Sakaguchi says

    Love the necklace and the blog! Wish I had one for times like these.

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