You have been given a gift.
It is woven
into the fabric of your being.
Just as you
are weaving your own
vibrant thread in the Jewish tapestry,
a 4,000-year-old quilt
that blankets our people in its weight
of justice and goodness.

You are a branch in a tree
whose roots reach the center
and the beginning of the earth,
the tree of knowledge
in Eden.
For you are dust,
Adama, Adam,
and to dust you shall return.

You are the promise
God made Abraham.
You are every grain of sand,
every star in the sky,
and every speck of dust.

You are the wildest dreams of Isaac and Jacob,
of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.

You felt the sweat on your back
and the crack of the whip.
Blood and frogs,
hail and darkness.
You are from the Exodus,
and 40 years of wandering.
How did you feel
when you left Egypt?

You are descended from the kings of Israel,
born of struggles and strategy and swords.
You are from David’s slingshot,
from the pebble that defeated Goliath.
You are from Saul’s battles,
from the Beit Hamikdash, Solomon’s temple.

You are prophecy revealed and redemption yet to come.

You are from the Babylonian exile,
Greek Hellenization,
Roman destruction,
Islamic Jihads,
medieval blood libels,
the Spanish Inquisition,
centuries of pogroms,
and the Holocaust.
You are from the ghetto, from the shtetl,
from the gas chambers and crematoriums.
You have been buried in mass graves and Jewish cemeteries.

You are from Canaan, Judea, Palestine, Israel.
You are from the trees in the Golan Heights and the salt in the Dead Sea,
from the dust in the Negev and the sand on Tel Aviv beaches.
The wind on top of Masada
and the silence in the Bar Kochba caves,
exist for you.
You are from the Temple Mount
and the stones in the Western Wall.
You are from seeing God in the sunsets of Tzfat
and hearing the voices of your ancestors echo in the Judean Desert.

You are from Zionism
and dreams
and hope.
You are the hope, the 4,000-year-old hope, HaTikvah.
You came on the Aliyot,
boats and weeks at sea
to pioneer the land of your people.
You are from the Yishuv, from kibbutzim and moshavim and ma’abarot.
You fought the War of Independence,
the Yom Kippur War,
the Six-Day War.
You are from Hamas missiles and Hezbollah tunnels,
the bullet that spilled blood
onto a folded copy of Shir LeShalom.

You are from the tallit,
from the stripes on the Israeli flag,
from the Star of David, two triangles,
the strongest shape in nature
combined to represent the strongest people in existence.
You are a warrior and a soldier,
a rebel and a veteran.
You are a Cohen, a Maccabee, a converso,
a sonderkommando, a refugee, a chalutz.
A survivor.
You have lived a million lives,
and will live a million more.

You are from the 13 attributes of God,
the 12 tribes of Israel
and the 11 stars in Joseph’s dream.
You are from the ten commandments,
The nine months with child,
and the eight days to the covenant.
You are from seven days in a week.
You are from six books of Mishnah
and five books of the Torah.
You are from four matriarchs, three patriarchs,
and two stone tablets.

So, when I ask, “Echad mi yodea?”
you can say, “I know one.
One is my God in heaven and earth,
and I was made in His image.”