We Dance Around The Shul
By Trisha Arlin
Our Torah is old.
The blue velvet cover
And the silver plate that hangs over the velvet
Are both covered in names
Of donors long gone,
And their honored loved ones, gone even longer.
These names mean nothing to us:
We ignore them
When we dance around the shul.
On Selichot we put aside the old velvet
And dressed our Torah in fresh white covers,
only a year old,
Donated by a beloved member,
She died this year, four days before Rosh HaShanah.
Tonight it’s Simkhat Torah.
So we now take off Amina’s white cover
And put on the old one,
Blue, embroidered with strangers' names.
Then we will dance around the shul.
We will think of Amina every year at this time
From now on
Until none of us are around,
Until there is no one who remembers her,
Then others will carry this scroll with the white cover
Donated by a Jew they never knew,
While they dance around the shul.
We give thanks for the ancient traditions,
Telling the story even when we can’t,
Keeping our loved ones’ memories
And giving us Torah from the beginning, every year.
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