Aromatics: The Jerusalem Syndrome
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Part I: "Just to Say My Name"

I sit at the cafe,
overwhelmed just listening
to the names being called to pick up each order.
How many times have I had to spell my name
(or invent a more anglo-sounding one)
when ordering something?

And here I sit,
unable to even begin a delicious coffee through my tears
for having my name recognized, accepted,
pronounced correctly?

Suddenly,
at Cafe Aroma at the Malcha Mall in Jerusalem,
crying into my coffee,
I remember I'm home.

Part II: "My Prophetess has a Tattoo"

My Prophetess has a tattoo.
She doesn't even know
that she's awoken my soul.

So casually she repeated my name,
and went to get me a croissant,
then turned away.

Later I glanced at her,
noticing the tattoo on her shoulder,
and I smiled.

The Prophetess of Aroma
brought me what I needed,
without knowing herself
through my eyes.

Part III: "A New Kotel"

They say the Western Wall still stands
because all of Israel built it -
children, men, women.

It isn't the Priests' Wall, nor the Artisan's Wall.
It is the People's construction,
the construction of the people.

I look up and see the dishwasher,
the braista, the soldier, the businessman,
all on their ceill phones,
building themselves and those
on the other end of the line.

Is that "only" people's expressions,
of the Expression of a People,
brick by brick?

Part IV: "Eretz Tropit (Remix)"

The first time it played,
I looked up and smiled,
a decade's memories flooding back.

I sang that song, I thought,
and it brought me back
to intoxicating days of music.

And so I began to write.

Thirty minutes later
it played again.

Are my precious memories
a Jewish kind of Holiday mix?

Part V: "Reflection"

Something makes me look up.
I see the mirror,
and my own intense glance,
captured, framed, and returned.

Am I a part of this scene?

Might another be describing
a barista, a soldier,
and a contemplative rabbi,
furiously scribbling in the back of his book?

Is this normalized Jewish bustle
in need of the meaning I see and seek?
Or is this bustle normalized Jewish meaning itself?


---
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Congregation Netivot Shalom || Bay Area Masorti || ShefaNetwork
Rabbis for Women of the Wall || menachemcreditor.org
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