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Letter: Story stirs memory of poem

While I was reading yet again the September issue of the Jewish Louisville Community, your article on Violins of Hope (“Instruments that survived Shoah to make music during Louisville visit”) jarred my memory of a poem I had written while taking a college class under the then-Poet Laureate of Kentucky, Lee Pennington. Your sentence: “The violin has a special place in Jewish history. Why is sometimes difficult to put into words.” Probably, I viewed a picture in an old issue of Hadassah magazine, and it became imprinted in my mind’s eye and committed me to put words I was feeling to paper.
I have enclosed a copy of the poem I speak of….
I so enjoy all of the articles in the Jewish Louisville Community and look forward to the quality therein.

Delores Brown
Shepherdsville

***

The Jews of Dubrovna – 1913

Fifty males of varying ages
cautiously formed a semicircle
three feet behind their staunch
appearing Rabbi;
to the right and behind him
two men pose.  The first, a violin
tucked under his chin and the
second, a clarinet to his lips.
All clad nearly the same
in dark cloth clothing, a
few with coats open revealing
talit katan ends and all heads
covered with wide brimmed
short billed caps.
All standing motionless to be
photographed.

A pictorial record of surviving
Russian Jewish history. A time
of poverty and persecution,
of bewilderment and struggle.
A time of celebration,
from the depths of deprivation
to read, to study that of their
choosing.
Fifty males of varying ages
had in secrecy and now give proof
to the completion, their writing
of a Torah scroll.

 

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