A Beating in Borough Park

For Berish Getz and Jacob Kornbluh

They beat you, Berish
Beat you and knocked you out cold
Beat you and sent you to the hospital
Beat you because you urged them to wear masks
Beat you while they burned a whole pile of them
Beat you while you filmed them, while they labeled you snitch
In the midst of a plague

Now they’re out in the street
Waving the flag of the chief mask mocker
You have to admit it takes a special talent
To attract Proud Boys, Neo Nazis—
White supremacists of all stripes
And Hasids too
All awash in their vision of making America hate 

Days later the mob swarms in front of the building of
A Hasidic journalist they also attacked during the riot
They block his building, taunting him
Their leader who has been arrested
Calls them his soldiers
As he declares a holy war
Will someone please remind this mob what Moses urged us to choose?
What the Talmud instructs us to do when lives are in danger?

These are my distant cousins
These are my fellow Jews
But I can’t help imagining them in a different attire
Minus their beards and payot
Marching in Charlottesville
Alongside some “very fine people”

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