To the Ghosts Who are Still Living

Ami Weintraub

About Ami Weintraub

I am a writer and teacher. I am currently a second year student in the Aleph Rabbinic Ordination Program. I have lived in Pittsburgh, PA for almost 7 years. I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. I currently run a Jewish, anarchist, LGBTQ+ center in Pittsburgh called Ratzon: Center for Healing and Resistance. I love to walk through parks and hang with trees and birds. I am trans and enjoy existing in a place of liminality and joy.

About To the Ghosts Who are Still Living

My piece, “To The Ghosts Who are Still Living,” is a collection of essays written over the span of two years and compiled for the Shmitah Project. They are each stand alone pieces but when compiled, they speak to one another and engage in a conversation about land, home and return.The essays explore how we develop a love for land in the midst of anti-semitism. This theme defines my relationship to Lithuania and Poland where my great-grandparents immigrated from and my relationship to Pittsburgh, where I currently live. The prominent question these essays ask is how do we define home? Do we release the land or does the land release us? How do we return to the lands that we come from? In the Shmitah we are asked to release the land we live on. This process requires us to have a deep relationship with the land and to understand how it supports our lives. I want readers to think beyond just the material ways land supports us and also engage with the spiritual ways land offers us care. How can we deeply honor and be in partnership with the land during this year? And what happens during times of deep pain, when we are kicked off of lands? When we inhabit other lands with violence and force? How do we return to the lands that remember our names?In the Shimtah we discuss giving up lands but in the great jubilee, the land also returns to its original owners. Which lands will return to us?