By Rolene Marks
I am a Jew. I am the daughter of Israel. I am the descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca and Leah.
I am the descendant of the great Kings David, Solomon and Saul.
I am the descendant of the wise Judges, the esteemed prophets.
I am Yael, the warrior. I hope by my actions to live up to Yael, the namesake of the heroine whose Hebrew name I bear.
My language is Hebrew. I may get my grammar wrong but it is the language of my soul. My soul and spirit belong to the land and now the State of Israel.
I am created from this land. I am its fruits. I am its covenant. I am its promise. I am the daughter of Zion, of Jerusalem.
I am bound by the chain of generations to the great sages, the learned Rabbis, the Nobel prize winners. I am the 12 tribes and the 1 tribe.
I carry the dreams of the scattered and the exiled because I am home.
I carry the hopes and the dreams of those who perished in inquisitions, in pogroms, in the Holocaust. I am the living dream of those who wandered the desert, marched through hostile lands to return to Zion.
I am a modern liberation movement, I determine my future. I have Jerusalem in my bones. Today I am hunted, I am vilified and I am abused. But I am not going anywhere for what was in my ancestors is in me.
I too, will survive. I too will be proud. I too will shout my name loud. The bitter words may wound me but will not defeat me. The violence may cut me but will not break me.
I stand strong. I stand proud. I will wear the symbols of my faith and identity with pride and strength. I will pursue peace with all my might but defend myself with all I am. I am a Jew.
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