Ancestors

Homebound by Joyce Zonana

When my parents left Egypt, they left behind everything they’d grown up with, all the objects that carried their deepest associations and memories. They taught me to scorn such “things”—what others value as mementos or souvenirs—rightly reasoning they can be lost in a moment. But while we have them, it is lovely, I’m learning, to let the spirits embedded within them, the memories and feelings they evoke, surround and comfort us. As I move through this house, I feel bound to my own and others’ histories, embedded in a rich and complex life that nurtures and sustains me. And as I sit still and knit, I sense that I am knitting (knotting) up the by now long, loose threads of my own life, shaping them into a coherent and satisfying whole.

ANNA’S DANCE: A BALKAN ODYSSEY by Michele Levy – Book Review by Joyce Zonana

Toward the end of her complex odyssey, Anna finds herself alone in an ancient Istanbul synagogue, where at long last she unreservedly “name[s] herself” a Jew and experiences connection with a God that “fuse[s] both male and female” and “from that wholeness birth[s] mercy and love.” Vowing to work to “help repair [the] world”–tikkun olam–she moves forward to face her life with a “sense of wholeness” that had eluded her for so long.

“This Golgotha of Modern Times” by Joyce Zonana

Our visit to Poland coincides with the Feast of the Assumption, a time when tens of thousands of pilgrims arrive on foot to pay homage to Our Lady of Częstochowa, Poland’s Black Madonna. I too am a pilgrim, visiting the sites, not of miracles but of martyrdom. As I make my way through what Pope John Paul II called “this Golgotha of modern times,” I am overcome; like him, I “am here kneeling down” to implore Our Lady to help us heal the vast, still open wound that is our life on this earth.