The Seminarian – Zahava Stadler

I do not mind the learners as they stumble over
the letters (chapter verse paean plea)
but I shudder at your Brown Driver Briggs diction, Ibid
instead of Avad
as though Bereishit were somebody’s footnote
and not the beginning of all books.

I would not blame you for Ashkenazis or Sefaradit or
Yemenite loops and whorls
but I admit I do not like the way your speech
comes wearing doctoral robes
as though the academics have done nothing to us
or our children. (The Orthodox
are so melodramatic; I don’t even have children.)
You come in peace, but
you speak the dialect of the disrespectful, those
with no reverence, those with no joy

and I can show you the place and help you along
but I will not allow you to pretend
that you are praying in my language.

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