Never Again is Never Enough

June 23, 2020

By Abigail Winokur

We’ve been chanting never again for 74 years,
But it’s Never Enough.
We’re slipping back into that centennial pattern
Of history repeating itself.
There was a brief moment,
A blip in time during my parents’ youth
Where things were quiet and still
Like a dormant volcano.
Ancient hatred didn’t dare bear her face
For too many people were still irreversibly scarred with the gashes of
What humanity is capable of when mankind indulges its dark nature.

And now again, we’re at a cusp and a crossroads.
We face a choice.
Are we going to doom ourselves with our silence and inaction?
Will we accept our fates and fall back on the illusion of safety,
One which has failed us time and time again?
We have the chance to carve out a new fate
One made of the sapphire of the Tablets,
Our ancient covenant.
Not with the crumbling sandstone of Masada,
Or the flimsy wood of the shtetls,
Not even out of the brick and mortar of West.
Don’t be fooled,
Everything has always had a facade of permanence.
We tend to lose ourselves in false comfort.

But now we know what lies ahead.
What the cruel and sharp end of this cyclical tale is.
The dizzying pendulum swings between persecution and security,
Uncertainty and prosperity,
So we try.
We try to quietly live and serve.
To live and let live.
But it’s never been good enough.

So now,
With the power of hindsight and knowledge,
We can reshape our eternal destiny
And fight back.

We walked out of Egypt,
We walked out of Spain,
We walked out of Poland,
Out of Germany,
Out of Russia,
Out of Iraq,
Out of Iran,
Out of Yemen,
Away from the people of the world who abandoned us to die.
We walked into America,
Into Western Europe,
We walked into our new stories and thought we reinvented our history.
We ran into Israel,
But not quite fast enough.

Never Again is Never Enough.
So we’re slipping back into our storyline.
But remember that we can trust no one to catch us but ourselves.
What choice will we make?
Will we continue our shallow cries of condemnation?
Or will we take concrete action to champion our right to exist?
We can’t rely on the empty promises of the rest of the world.
Where were they as we lost six million?
We must acknowledge the existence of this new-old hate
To stymie its progression.
It exists.
It has never left.
We must take action,
Or Never Again will be a long-forgotten chant,
Banished into the shadows with the Jewish people.

Abigail Winokur is sophomore at Yeshiva University in New York. His poem, “A Day in the Life”, was selected as a winner of the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement’s Emma Lazarus Art Award.