Actively teaching and promoting courage
a writing prompt proffers
yet reflection proclaims courage was
not a formal topic in classrooms I attended
but a lived experience by many models.

not slinky runway models
but my mother and aunts in full-length aprons
working alongside in my immigrant Bubbe’s kitchen,
where tzedakah boxes reminded us to be generous
to others whose courage was tested at every meal

in multi-family apartments, not high rises with elevators
but walk-ups where families lived together, not across town
made memories, where children shouted
where elders encouraged “be nice”, “shhhh –
the neighbors will hear you”.

courage – undergirds deflecting messages
from the right and left volleying
when the river of pursuit calls for justice
peace, purity, understanding
dialogue among peoples.

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