Sunday, April 8, 2012

Elijah's Milonga Visit

Every Jew had a large "J" in their passport and a new name.

In English we called last Friday paradoxically "Good Friday."  Here in Germany it is called "Karfreitag."  Maybe a few people noticed that it was Friday was also Passover.
Background for the poem below:
Karfreitag ("day of grief Friday" from old High German) is the day Jesus was crucified long ago.  One should not dance on that day, according to tradition and by law in Germany.  The Polizei could come and fine the organizers of a dance in most cities of Germany.  But the liberal laws in Frankfurt am Main allowed us to dance.  

My guess is that it was not Karfrietag for at least one person at the Pan y Tango Milonga, in Frankfurt am Main.  For Sarah it perhaps was Passover. Even if it were not Passover for Sarah, it was at least Passover for me.  I miss being in Washington DC, where I had close Jewish friends. I won't find that here in Germany.  I love Germany, and you must realize that the Nazi mindset is dormant in each person's humanity and each culture on earth.  If we only knew that, perhaps we could avoid the tragedies of human ignorance and hate.  The poem below is not about Germany but about humanity.  It is about tango.

The Passover Milonga

I danced with Sarah.  That is what she called herself.
"Sarah is not a name I hear much in Germany," I said.

"There is a story behind that. Perhaps you do not know?" she queried.
"It was the Nazis. The name was overused, you see,
'Israel' was on every Jewish man's passport;
'Sarah' was the official name for every Jewish woman."

Elijah came this Passover milonga.
I am sure I saw him dancing in the corner of my eye.
And Sarah danced with me,
I was Israel for a night.

We danced.
We embraced.
And I wondered how the world could not do the same.

Every day is a day to dance, to embrace and hope.


  1. This is so lovely, and perfect for today. Thank you for posting. (And I am sure Elijah dances!)

  2. Cherie... it was a piece of history I did not know. The actual Sarah said that the names were "David" and "Sarah." But the historic literature says "Israel." -- Mark


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