*Please note:  The strong language used in this poem may paint for the reader a picture of more intensity and aggression than actually occurred. 

I am not sure when it
Quite started
But the agony arose in the midst
Of the joyous day
The powder keg was there
Ready to explode
Bottled-up emotions
Lack of communication
Were kissed by a match
It was the straw that
Broke the camel’s back

It created something massive
A destructive earthquake
And a pillar of our life
Our beloved, tight-knit community
Our heart and our home

The flames were yet fanned
Fueled and fed
By the poisons of resentment
Anger and hurt
Manipulation and ego
Discord and distraction
There was a fire in my shul

It raged and it grew
The roots and branches of the community
Were drastically weakened
It goes without saying that
Children too were affected

We left for a period
I felt like we were hiding
As I sank into the waves of
An aching heart and tears
I struggled to see
A positive outcome
Did separation make any difference?
Yet “absence makes the heart grow fonder…”
Could we possibly be on a path
To healing?
“Where, O Hashem,
Are You right now?”

A bit of time passed and we
At last slipped back with

Hopes for the future
Perhaps this sunrise will
Give birth
To a new day
Better than the last
How wrong we were
At least that’s how it seemed
A smack in the face
Of blatant obstinacy to change
Our shul walked through a living

Tensions continued
Stress and strain pervaded
Everyone hung locked onto the other’s words
Perhaps imagining
But always sensing an
Obscured barb or insinuating remark

I lost all the joy of
Being part of my shul
I tried to help
To provide a solution
To stand up as a leader
To make a difference
But every bright idea
Was shot down unmercifully

I cried and I prayed
After every recital of Shema
In the velvety black night
After I lit my Shabbos candles
Every single week
I davened for clarity, peace
Growth, and please G-d,
I don’t know what to do now
I am ever so lost
I know Hashem, we’re all
In Your hands

There was a fire in my shul
One cannot build anew
On a land that continues to burn
I felt like Gehinnom had opened beneath us
The living retribution in this world
Of the burning shame
Of not living up to our potential
Of seeing what we could have been
How we could’ve lived
So rich in light and in touch
With our soul
And it is flashed before our eyes
How we failed
Are we not supposed to stand as
“A light among the nations”?!
“Eicha?” again
How we fell short

Inquire of yourself
Search deep in your soul
How do you wish to hold yourself
And how do you wish to shine?
Your speech, thought and deeds have
Inherent power to create
Or destroy, G-d forbid, worlds
To sustain and strengthen other people
Or adversely bring them down to the dust
And how will you use these gifts
And these tools?

Remember dear friends
It’s all in your hands
To shine with the positive
To simply try as a leader
Never give up
Know that healing’s ahead
There’s a light that shines with promise
At the end of the tunnel

And don’t be afraid to
Pray and to cry
For the peace and unity
Of your people.

*Please understand, this pained true story hasn’t been met with an eternally rocky end…  Baruch Hashem, truly, thank G-d, after a year of ongoing and mounting strife, things are slowly returning to the normal order and peace.  We’re picking up the fragments of the shattered heart of the community, and gradually restoring trust and bonds between one another.  We’ve begun our way on a path to healing and forgiveness.  We’re searching to find the light in the darkness.  After hitting rock-bottom, ascendance is the only direction to take.  We’ve faced challenge and dissension as all families have, but we are only, with G-d’s help, going to grow stronger through it.  “Baruch Hashem le’Olam, Amein v’Amein…”