21st Century Amidah

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21st Century Amidah by Jamie Klinger - Photo by Zoe Oppenheimer

Blessed are You, our G-d,
and G-d of our fathers and mothers,
who guide my fingers to strike the match
as I attempt to light the shamash
for the first time and who fumble with
words that are immigrants, born in
the Holy Land but live hidden in the
back of their throats.
G-d of Abraham, G-d of Isaac,
and G-d of Jacob, who spin me
round and round in the most powerful
hora I’ve ever been in, thousands
of years, right here, grasping me in
strong arms while we dance at my
Bat Mitzvah. G-d of Sarah,
G-d of Rebekah, G-d of Rachel
and G-d of Leah, who passed their crowns
of ringlets to me, each curl
mapping my past and identifying
my tribe as Yael, she who is
strong, who is powerful, she
who will protect with life
and death. The great G-d, mighty
and awesome, G-d on high
from laughter as I paint faces
at the Purim carnival, apologizing when
I smudge the whiskers that adorn a
little boy’s cheeks. Who
does acts of loving-kindness,
and creates everything, and remembers
the loving acts of my grandfather and
grandmother, who faithfully attend
the massive seder organized by family
tree, branches of us coming together
to thrive in the country that
harbored us, the
children of their children.
A Ruler who helps, saves, and shields:
Blessed are You,
my father Abraham
and my mother Sarah.

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Jamie Klinger is a senior at Livingston High School in New Jersey. She has been previously published by the American Library of Poetry and was a runner up in the New York Times Blackout Poetry Contest. She loves writing, history, and spending time with her friends.
Accompanying photo: “Smiles” by Zoe Oppenheimer