Benjamin Folkinshteyn

On Fear: An Open Letter to My Children

My dearest child – I know you’re afraid
Of violence threatened and undisguised hate;
I too am afraid though I hide it instead –
Some monsters are real – unlike under your bed.

Your necklace is hidden under your shirt.
One minute you’re brave, the next, you’re in dirt.
I’m holding you close and doing my best,
But doubts weigh heavily deep in my chest.

You’re too young to be learning these lessons today.
How can I make your innocence stay
Just one more minute or maybe a day?
Alas, that’s impossible, but I can show you the way.

Never forget who you are and stand proud;
Your convictions will raise you over the crowd.
In silence there’s safety, but know it is fleeting.
Speak the truth, head held high, though you may take a beating.

Distortions and slander are gut-wrenching things,
When lies and hypocrisy quickly grow wings;
And the world celebrates with myopic desire
The burning of Jews on the funeral pyre.

It won’t be easy to stand up to the mob.
Mustering courage is not a fun job.
But I will be there holding your hand
As we weave our history strand upon strand.

Choose your friends wisely and hold onto to those few
Who share your values and carry you through.
And, despite all the fears, proclaim with a scream:
“Look at my people, world, Anachnu Chayyim!”

About the Author
Benjamin Folkinshteyn is an attorney in private practice in the Greater New York area. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
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