It seems less than fair that as a child
I was Jewish to the core, adopted, yes,
but certainly fully Jewish and not merely
by maternal lineage which would suffice.
Christmas was alien to me then, even
when I left Judaism behind, a shadow
that would follow me closely into
my Buddhist practice and life.
But DNA made a liar of so many,
my birth mother, the adoption agency
and my adoptive parents, for I know
my Judaism was only half of me.
So now I can enjoy Christmas
and other holidays, listen anew
to “The Little Drummer Boy”
and relish the irony of my new life.
For I have aged, as has my wife,
and when they sing “Do you hear
what I hear?” she sadly says
“not any longer I don’t” and then,
“Do you see what I see?” and I
must admit I do so only barely
and the doctors assure me that
soon enough I may say no as well.
It is a strange feeling to discover that you
have been made a liar by your own DNA.
For years I was Jewish to the core, half
at least Sephardic, Portuguese, and that
not merely extracted but fully blooded.
My diet at Passover expanded greatly,
no longer dictated by Northerners who
easily banned that which they did not grow.
But inquisitiveness got the better of me,
and I learned, and disbelieved, that only
half of me was Jewish, half a polygot
of other faiths, no Sephardic in sight.
It wasn’t as painful as you might imagine,
for I had given up my Judaism well
before the discovery, so what was lost
was no longer mine by claim or right.
It is strange feeling to discover that you
have been made a whole person by your DNA.