I opened up the newspaper and came across
a Hasidic man clenching a chain-link fence
in order to avoid a large sidewalk puddle.
It has been raining.
I thought about the man for a while. What a
Tremendous effort being made rather than go around
in the street. Anything seemed easier than his plan,
So it seemed to me.
I will never know anyone from his community, I thought,
Under the Williamsburg Bridge, Crown Heights, Brooklyn,
obscure, orthodox, Jewish, understand their rituals,
know their unique ways.
I would never be invited to their Bar Mitzvahs, Bat, Bris milahs,
know a mohel. Never experience Shabbat, enjoy a shabbat meal,
stop all worldly activities on a Friday at sunset til Saturday evening
when three stars appeared.
One day the phone rang, a couple interested in the apartment.
I looked to rent inside my home. Esther, pregnant with her first born,
Rabbi Adam looking to start a Chabad House. Or Chabad
Now I love ten children, unlockeddoors, my heart full.
Chana, Avarami, Natalie, Ita, Mendel, Israeli, Boral, Shalom,
Mushki, Sarah. Ester my ‘sister-friend.’ Unconditional love.
Kathaleen Donnelly is a 1976 graduate of St.Vincent’s Hospital, School of Nursing in Greenwich Village, NYC and currently works at Stony Brook Medical Center as a Nurse Practitioner in Cardiology. With a little help from her friends, she compiled Paumanok, Poems and Pictures of Long Island, then later, Paumanok, Interwoven and Paumanok, Transition.