Occupy Religion

I’m standing in a foreign place

The “men’s section”

Where as a Jewish woman

I am forbidden 

I’m standing in front of a holy scroll

My entire life I’ve watched and listened 

Quietly

But I’ve never 

Claimed

This

Place

A place of joy

That brings renewal, action

I’m reading from the scroll

I’ve practiced for hours

Laboriously teaching myself

That which is only taught to men

With every minute I struggle to learn

To chant the cantillation

I realize my loss

Rituals are handed so generously to men

But where can I find the presence of women?

I sing the words of the scroll

Reveling in their beauty

I cleave to this tradition

But

I refuse to be left behind 

Set aside

Behind the partition

Opposite

I reclaim myself

I reclaim my religion

This moment 

For the first time

I realize

Who

I

Can be

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