FATHER'S YAHRZEIT

You started every day
wrapped in Tallis, Tefillin, and prayer,
but lived clean shaven, head uncovered
and drove especially fast on Saturday.

Absolutely certain of  our Torah's truths
you dismissed all non-Jews as fools.
Insisting that all mankind derived from Adam
you divided people into them and us,
and them you would not trust.
Yet a Jew you would not elect
even as your President.

Europeans were your only kin;
those from other continents you considered wild
by which barbarian was implied.

You mourned the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem
and as a Kohen, prayed for the priesthood to return.
Your faith in God was absolute,
your soul that of an ancient Jew.
In this and other ways I am the opposite of you,
but here I stand saying Kaddish.


- Bernard Otterman