In the footsteps of my ancestors,
my way is paved in broken concrete,
made from stolen tombstones,
taken from Europe’s Jewish cemeteries,
as if a generation’s culture could be ground
into smithereens, hiding its very existence.
Yet, the heaven’s shed tears of mercy,
in order to water the earth with renewal.
Chassidic communities sprung up again,
some in Israel, some in America,
and some even in Ukraine.
Now, with the invasion of Russia,
again, the Ukrainian Jews have had to flee,
reminiscent of flight during the Shoah,
that some elderly survivors recalled,
from their harrowing youth.
What a joy to the soul,
and warmth to the heart,
to see them landing in Israel.
Lifted upon the wings of eagles,
and set down upon the ancient soil
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
And my own kindred,
not even given the opportunity
to be mourned by loved ones,
thousands of miles across the Atlantic,
where my great grandfather Hirsch Wolf,
strived to raise a family, in a distant land,
with hues of grey, and sounds of cacophony
in the busy streets of Brooklyn.
His brothers’ families remained,
and still rest in the earth,
7 kilometers outside of Bolekhiv,
in the forest of Taniawa,
where a memorial plaque,
marks a mass grave.
Yet, like Moses,
who was not permitted to enter
the land promised to the Israelites,
they will greet the righteous
in the Promised Land
of Olam Haba.
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