by Linda Laderman (Commerce Township, MI)
At a press conference a Texas Ranger claims
the recent synagogue attack in his state
wasn’t aimed at the Jewish Community.
A piece in the Wall Street Journal opines
that most Jews are safe if they are not among
the eccentric few who still frequent synagogues,
where they are more likely to be targeted
by extremists. Best to stay away from Kosher
butcher shops, Jewish grocery stores & bakeries.
On my eighth birthday, I watched my neighbor
Kathy walk toward the Cathedral on our corner.
Her stride purposeful, her pure white dress bridal.
Gloved hands folded in front of her,
she moves in anticipation of what
she is about to receive. I am envious.
My Hebrew school teacher’s bare forearm
exposes numbers inked into her flesh.
She smiles & pats my cheek when I ask why.
I tell my friend Patty what I witnessed.
Her mother says I lied. That it’s impossible
for human beings to be numbered.
In a fourth-grade discussion on family trees,
my secular granddaughter raises her hand
to praise her Jewish heritage.
I don’t encourage it.
Linda Laderman grew up in Toledo, Ohio, where she has wonderful memories of walking to services and sitting in the balcony with her mother and grandmother at the old B’nai Jacob Synagogue. She earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Her news stories and features have appeared in media outlets and magazines. She returned to school in the 1990’s graduating with a Master’s of Liberal Studies and a Juris Doctor degree from The University of Toledo. Her memoir piece, “Grandmother’s Warning” was published in the summer 2021 edition of the Michigan Jewish Historical Society Journal, and later reprinted in the Detroit Jewish News. Her poetry has appeared in The Jewish Literary Journal, The Bangalore Review and The Sad Girls Literary Blog and is forthcoming this spring in The Scapegoat Review, The Write Launch and Beyond Words Literary Magazine. Linda currently lives in the Detroit area. For the last decade, she has volunteered as a docent at the Zekelman Holocaust Center, where she leads adult discussion tours and is a member of the Docent Advisory Committee.