Falling Stars

(in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day)

The railroad tracks in my mind crisscross
via memories of then sunlight days and the dark still clouds after.

Through the thick brick walls I can hear them calling my name
in a crescendo of all we dreamed possible.

Now beneath those thick suffocating yellow stars is hidden our humanity.

Dreams still wrapped in brightly-colored paper
which when laid end-to-end form a riverbank of a gently flowing brook.

Carrying with it only this moment, this one.

Still. - Calm. - At peace.

As we pause in the bliss of a place where now chimneys only carry away the sweet scents of autumn woods
and bodies rest on freshly sprouting fields of green.

Relaxed. - Laughing. - Alive.

I close my eyes in the moment.

This moment.

Or is it?

Nonetheless, I tear away the yellow star not sewn of fabric,
but of the lives who have walked this line before and who sadly will stumble after.

And as the stitches rip giving rise to a tender yet powerful sound,
I grasp beneath the hanging threads my slow and fraying heart.

Joining my family swimming away from a sea of ash.

Our lives rejoined in clouds of breath upon the crisp morning air.

A fog that allows us to write upon misty window panes:

We are Jews - We are here - We are forever alive

As we bravely journey along the always remembering
and never to be forgotten railroad tracks in our minds.

Rabbi Tad Campbell


(Rabbi Tad Campbell is a published writer and poet who holds an MA from the University of Oxford, England, the MTS from Duke, and his rabbinical ordination from the Rabbinical Seminary. He is a board certified chaplain and pastoral counselor and currently serves with Suncoast Hospice in Clearwater, Florida.)
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CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL OF THE PALISADES