By Susan L. Lipson (Poway, CA)

You may be the first Jew—
The first they’ve ever seen in person.
You may be the only Jew—
The only Jew to whom they’ve ever spoken.
You may be the one Jew—
The one to disprove their preconceptions about Judaism.
You may be that special Jew—
Special enough to make a lasting positive impression on them.
You may be the exemplary Jew—
An example of our entire people, in their eyes….
So be a light unto others
As God commanded you.
For you, alone, can cast a mighty glow—
Enlightening shady images,
Illuminating the invisible for the blind,
Counterbalancing darkness
With your goodness.
Goodness embraces and inspires others,
While dogma squeezes and restricts.
Let them remember goodness,
That potential we all share,
Not how you differ from them.
Let them remember nonjudgmental, loving you
Whenever they think of a Jew.

Susan L. Lipson, a children’s novelist and poet, has taught writing in the San Diego area for more than ten years. Her latest books are Knock on Wood (a middle-grade novel) and Writing Success Through Poetry. She writes two blogs: and

Lipson also writes songs, including Jewish spiritual songs, some of which have been performed by synagogue choirs and soloists.

Contact her via Facebook or MySpace (Susan L. Lipson).

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