In History Class
Gosh, you know, I'm glad I don't live
In a time like that. Glad I live in an
Easy time, technological time,
Spoiled time. Glad I don't live
In a time where we wrote letters in sand, where it was easy to wash away our crimes of reading and studying Torah.
In a time when we took the blame, wore the mantels "God-Killer", "Plague-Bringer".
In a time that saw us picking up and fleeing from England (or France, or Austria, or Spain, or Yemen, or Baghdad, or Russia).
And especially glad I don't live in that time
When the world closed its doors to us, when hatred (like a kettle left unattended with the heat on high) boiled over.
When we were left to drown in that scalding water, which flooded our synagogues and washed away our roots.
When our fathers were shot and our mothers ripped away, our children burned and our history hunted to the ends of the Reich.
Yeah, I'm glad I don't live in that time.
This time I live in, you see, it's different.
Today, I write letters right-to-left in my workbooks
(My classmate carved a swastika into his desk,
But don't worry –
Somebody scratched it out).
Today, I pick up and travel to Europe!
(Don't wear your star necklace,
My mother says, just in case.
Keep it in your suitcase).
Today, my synagogue opens its doors for High Holiday services
(Say hi to the officer by the entrance,
Look away from his weapon,
Make sure all the exit doors are locked).
Today, I learn my people's history from wrinkled hands, silver hair, tired voices.
(So when others deny it,
At least I know it happened.
I'll never forget).
Then after all that, at the end of the day,
I tip back in my chair
And think to myself, G-d, I'm glad I don't live
In a time like that.