Such golden days we had on all the Tashlichs
So rarely did the clouds cast a shadow
Over the autumnal East Walk with its sluggish brook
Where generations tossed bread, as if for ducks;
The young became adult and the adults old,
Different dogs over the years romped and sniffed
While we congregated on the bridge
And never thought to be afraid.
We had our honey cake and ate it
At the nearby house of Roz and Steve,
Where trays of tea never stopped coming
As wearing yontef clothes is thirsty work.
We could don kippot in the street,
We could display a Star of David
Small gold pendant, oblique modern silver.
Or a white and blue youth club T shirt.
Someone spat at Rose in Asda last week.
Her Star of David was visible, she said.
In 2018, you don’t wear a Magen David,
Not in Asda, by the Walkers multipacks.
There are online narratives full of old stories
Jewish usury, Rothschilds, Soros,
New World Order, David Icke,
They penetrate the mainstream
They reach unexpected places: Labour, the Trade Unions
The Uni, Asda as we heard and West End pubs:
Dr D was set on in The Red Lion;
It was the t-shirt, but he got away.
Our postwar generation in fair Albion
Came in and went out in peace
Still do but many of us are nervous,
Jittery with a little inherited PTSD
For which they hate us, some of them.
Our elders went out weeping, not us;
We came back joyfully
Carrying our sheaves in Asda bags.
My uncle worked in remnants, textiles,
Selling rolls of cloth in the markets
It was the nineteen sixties.
I thought remnant was a funny word.
I did not know that we were the remnant.
‘Guardian of Israel guard the remnant of Israel
And suffer not Israel to perish
Who say Hear O Israel.’
Years later I went to Tashlich,
Still high after the uncanny tekiah
And the Avinu Malkenu.‘Save us,’ we said.
We say it still but with a different cadence.
Gillian Lazarus Elul 5778