Chana Yehudis Zahav

Right Vs Wrong

love your neighbor as yourself taken in safed by chana yehudis zahav in 2017
love your neighbor as yourself means fighting for all of our people as if it was our immediate family members butchered last week- taken by chana yehudis zahav


Below is a poem written by Chana Yehudis Zahav at age 15 in 1995 in a Nashville TN Public school:


Mother dear what shall I do?

My hair is blond, my eyes are blue.

I will not die, I cannot live,

I only do what Hitler says.

And though I face my task with fear,

I must destroy the innocent,

No longer my peers,

As with one great and frighting flick,

With just one hand the trigger I’ll flip.

I try my best to do what’s right,

But killing the innocent is my job tonight.

How can I kill yet fear to die?

At least they’ll see the tears in my eyes,

I cannot rebel, I cannot fight,

I can only watch people die tonight.

How can a man such as myself,

Live with the guilt from the knowledge that I,

As helplessly as a host to a parasite,

Do exactly the opposite of what I know to be right,

When like a butcher with his knife,

I’m forced to kill for my supper each night.

Into the chambers the Jews will go,

I’ll clamp my eyes shut, then let the gas flow…”

I wrote this poem at the age of 15 and it won me the award for best poem written by a public high school student in Nashville, TN in 1995. It was written at a non denominational writing camp in Sewanee Tennessee where the most famous attraction is a gigantic white cross.  My grandfather who was a WW2 veteran loved this poem because he related to the feeling of soldiers having to kill, and my Christian teachers and peers loved it because “it was well written.”… but there is no comparison to my heroic grandfather who fought nazi’s to save lives and the evil man I describe. This poem was never published because I was told by several publications it was anti semitic.

If you can read this poem and think of it as one of the hamas butchers from last week, there is no way to tolerate even one line of this poem now. It was written by a Jewish girl in an overwhelmingly non Jewish world, trying to understand how such hatred could have existed,  and also meant a bit sarcastically. But that girl has grown up and lives in Israel and has been witness to true hatred and people who make tough decisions and who knows there is a clear choice between right and wrong, I do not have any sympathy for anyone who chooses to kill for the sake of killing. This should go without saying but there is NO such thing as being forced to Kill. Hamas was elected by the Gazan people, it is a choice to choose hatred and violence or not. It is a choice to support a political party that supports violence and hatred, or not. It is a choice for all of the drs and nurses who are Muslim and have been suspended lately for supporting Hamas. It is a choice to live with morality, or not. This poem was a success in the same city that recently barred Maus as being “too graphic” but has no problem being Music City USA and being the home of many celebrities and all the graphicness that entails. I always said that Nashvillians are the sweetest people ever… to your face. You could have drawn a line down the center of my high school between blacks and whites although “there is no segregation anymore.”  I would posit that it succeeded in winning an award because covertly anti semitic people liked hearing about the suffering of a “poor nazi.”

I have one question, for anyone who believes there are 2 sides to the story of the war between Israel and Gaza, if your immediate family was in the gas chamber that the man above pulled the switch to turn on would you consider him innocent or would you kill his already empty shell of a body (soulless) in order to protect other family members and your own life? What if the man described above had personally butchered your own baby? Your cousin’s baby? Your sister’s?  We know this is what they did last week. We must at least know for ourselves as Jews that there is right and wrong and we are very very much on the side of right.  Period. Am yisrael chai!!!


love your neighbor as yourself- taken in safed by chana yehudis zahav in 2017
About the Author
Grew up in Worcester MA and Nashville TN and made aliyah after completing college at UMD College Park in 2003 because she fell in love with Israel and its people. Spent over 10 years hosting very large shabbat meals in Jerusalem with her husband winning the award in 2016 for Host of the Year on Experienced 15 years of infertility and now lives in Jerusalem with her husband and son where she has lived for 20 years.
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