Orthodox woman: Breaking through the divide

Blessed are You, oh Lord, our God, King of the universe, who is good and bestows good…

A baby boy is celebrated by the whole community: shalom zachor, brit milah, sometimes a pidyon haben…13 years later at their bar mitzvah they are excitingly accepted into the entire worldwide orthodox community of men who can lead a congregation, count in a minyan, be part of a m’zuman for bircat ha’mazon, read from the holy Torah, lain megillah, blow shofar.

Blessed are You, oh Lord, our God, King of the universe, who has allowed us to…


“The stars at night…”

Hood groans,

laying back,

to view visible


“Are big and bright…”
Orpheus lyre



on the dash.

“Deep in the heart of Texas…”
Orion’s arrow

turning to his

stoic cologne.

The Cats Bouquet

Atop the monstrous mantle,
They taunt me. Shaking vibrant petaled boas, In the oscillating breeze they dance with pointed knees of green. Mysterious as the island jungles, exotic colors, beauty of butterflies’ iridescent wings, sunlight shining through.

The Ice Cream scooper

My empty head sometimes sleeps and between nightmares I know the truth, that tomorrow the torture will return. It begins with the jostle from a dark crowded space, the screeching sound of wood sliding against metal reverberates around my silver head and I’m always blinded by the sudden shot of fluorescent light.

Then, with the pressure of a thousand corsets tied so tight I am squeezed and pushed under a waterfall of tepid water, I cry every time. I weep because the task I must endure day in and out looms ahead. …

My every step

builds cities,

every motion

brings sun

-or rain-

Depending on my mood,

I might bring another

ice age

-or crusade-

But do not dare

stop me:

faster than a falling star,

hair like a tornado’s twirl

I am your bad dream,

-or savior-

Portrait of a place

I often find myself going out alone. Whether to try that new Chinese place on Jaffa street in Jerusalem or sitting 4th row center at “RENT” on Broadway for just $20 student rush tickets.

It will start with an activity or location catching my eye; today it was “La Blanche” restaurant in the 18th district of Paris. Peering through the large windows I wondered at the pale interior. Calling up all my friends from the study abroad program at la Sorbonne I repeated over again, “We have got to try this place! It looks tres magnific!”

Pomegranate Sunset

Humble purple,


rich penetration of the viola.


velvet of a Victorian parlor.


sweet smell of spiced asian tea.

Graceful purple,

flying eagle proud,

into the pomegranate sunset.

The Eyelash Curler

This silver thing with two holes,
Like a bent pair of scissors.
The replacement for some medieval torture device;
meant to compress the vital organs.
As you bring it close to your eye,
As you steadily hold your hand,
It is possible to imagine an assassin,
performing such an act:
aiming, pinching, squeezing; a perfectly executed curl.

Ode to my bedazzled sunglasses

Elegance in black plastic;

Hinges of cubic-zirconium.

My constant companion,

Hold my hair back.

Your burkah black,

My pretty protection.

Snows’ sheen

Seas’ shimmer;

City stares,

Observing glares;

With you I am free,

To shield myself.

Fall into the GAP

Floating on the endless stretch of tile, anchored by a Sony ericsson video phone, diving for the undergarments best suited for a pool.

Sales try to trap in whirlpools of perfumed socks never to catch the eye of this Abercrombie cave fish.

Calling on sharks of Christmas past; this Thanksgiving she will have the perfect panties.

Or so she tells her shipwrecked friends, marooned in Macy’s coral reef. Forever stranded in her consumer universe.

Sheena Levi

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