juliespeaks

The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.

WOMAN OF VALOR

 

WOMAN OF VALOR

One of the rituals of the Jewish Sabbath dinner meal is the recitation by a husband to his wife of Woman of Valor (Eshat Chayil), a 22 verse poem that concludes the Book of Proverbs, wherein such a woman is described as energetic, righteous and capable. It begins, “A woman of valor who can find. Her worth is far above rubies.”  When I hear it I want to respond by saying, “Stop right there.  I can find plenty of women of valor.” To mention only a few, there was:  

Brave Rachel who stole her father’s idols and never begrudged her sister – winner of the wedding wars. Sneaky Rebecca who ensured first born privileges be given to the second: an act that saved the Jewish people. Courageous Miriam, though still a child, saved one who led his people forth from slavery. Deborah, the judge, sent forth words of wisdom from under a palm tree and bravely entered a war of freedom. Esther – a woman of faith, devotion and courage, kept her identity a secret, defied the rules, appeared before her king to beg for the lives of her people – and won.

Emma Lazarus welcomed the oppressed to a land of freedom, argued for a Jewish homeland long before Herzl called it Zionism. Golda, rose through the ranks to become Premier of Israel, secretly crept across borders to make peace with an enemy

Anne Frank, a young girl never to become a woman, courageously exposed the evils of Nazism: one voice who spoke for six million, embodied the triumph of the human spirit in a dehumanizing system. Henrietta Szold – Founder of Hadassah, leader of Youth Aliyah, rehabilitated thousands of children, established a nursing school, opened health care clinics throughout Israel.

Jewish women of valor can be found in medicine, literature, music, science, education and athletics, politics and the entertainment world: women who fight for right, loudly espouse equality and expose the evils that befall humanity. They score their triumphs alone, unaided they venture forth, no crutches or jumper cables for them

Many others of note swept aside, buried in time. What would the world be like absent the paths they walked? Others will come who measure up to these women of guts and glory and talent. Let us remember and continue to tread the roads they traveled for all mankind

See also Two Toasts To the Sabbath

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Julie Rose

editit601@gmail.com

 

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OF SOME WOMEN

OF SOME WOMEN

 

I’m not a historian I support women’s rights but I don’t march with activists I’ll contribute to  an organization I deem important but I won’t make phone calls and solicit money for it. I’m not smart enough to own a patent on anything, discover a cure for cancer or a new star. I have no special talent for entertaining people.

I  envy  those who have been brave enough, smart enough, to have left their footprints in the sands of time for the betterment of mankind..  Scratch that. I’m not envious of those women or women prettier than I, richer than I.  I am insanely jealous of these women.

Hytpatia: scholar, mathematician, philosopher, teacher of Plato.

Abolitionist Sojourner Truth, who challenged discrimination.

Fugitive Harriet Tubman, founder of the Underground Railroad.

Marie Curie who enabled us to reached the moon

Founder of the nursing profession, Florence Nightingale,

Jane and her chimps, champion  of wildlife preservation,

Jane Addams, her Hull House a foundation of the social work profession.

Margaret Sanger, pioneer advocate for birth control.

Field hand Rosa Parks brought national attention to the civil rights cause.

Abigail Adams who badgered John  to allow to women to vote.

Henrietta Szold, founder of a nursing school and health care clinics.

Those who gave me faith a woman could lead:

Queen Elizabeth I, Golda Meir,  Indira Ghandi.

Mother Teresa, caregiver of the downtrodden.

Eleanor who toiled for causes just..

Coretta – fighter of battles for justice won.

Women who bring joy to all:

Pearl Bailey,LenaHorne, Maria Tallchief

Hepburn of stage and Buck of book

Renaldi and Ella who make hearts sing

Bright stars of fiction to name only two

Novelist, journalist, Isabel Allende

Singer, actress, poet Maya Angelou

Those woman scored their triumphs alone. Unaided they ventured forth. No crutches or jumper cables for them. Thousands of others over the centuries who represent the best of womankind – nay, the best of mankind. People who not only believed in equality and justice and learning  and pleasing others but stood tall, undaunted, and acted to encourage those goals

A blessing on their heads.

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Julie Rose

julierose601@gmail.com

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FIRST LOVE

first love

 

            I don’t think any woman ever forgets her first love. She may have been ten or   twenty or forty but at eighty she still remembers him   She remembers the sound of his voice, his crooked big toe, the warmth that enveloped her when they danced, his clumsy attempt to do a jackknife off a diving board, the smell of Old Spice shampoo that lingered when he came out of the shower. She remembers, too, the joy of falling in love.  It makes no difference whether he was a prince or a cad  – she remembers.

 

Sometimes the memories are of a special moment they shared. Maybe they laid on the banks of river and he read poetry to her.  Maybe his mother welcomed her with open arms.  Maybe he knocked down all the milk bottles at a carnival and presented her with a giant teddy bear. Nothing that happened to her since has the same hold on her memory.

 

If you ask a man whether or not he remembers his first love he’s likely to say yes. But the woman he’ll then tell you about won’t be the first woman he fell in love with:  it will be the first woman with whom he had sex. He will remember how clumsy and inexperienced he felt but cannot recall the color of her hair and sometimes not even her name. This  poem would be Greek to him.

 

FIRST LOVE

His sparkling emerald eyes,

His copper penny hair:

A memory

Trapped in the depths of my heart.

 

I want to let go and when I come close

I hear a song we danced to;

Words he whispered softly.

Smell the magnolia he tucked in my hair,

Feel the caress of my name on his lips

 

I want to let go.

And just when I think I’m almost there

Vapors of onion soup drift in,

Smoky cafes drown once more in soft jazz.

 

I want to let go but I cannot forget

Memories of togetherness laughter,

Bare toes in wet sand,

Dimple in chin, freckle on shoulder,

Wading – then swimming – in passion’s waters.

 

The pilot light of remembrance

Flickers once more in my soul.

I lay awake in the night

Wishing the heartache away.

I want to let go, love freely,

Untethered by the leash of his memory.

 

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Julie Rose

julierose601@gmail.com

 

 

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