- The Tenth Woman
I am the tenth woman. I count.
You can count on me for evening minyan.
In skullcap and prayer shawl I count life's blessings:
I count matriarchs I count mitzvoth
I count the seasons of change.
When I am no more count to ten, then
say the Mourner's Kaddish that discounts death.
Joanne Seltzer's grandparents were Orthodox, but her parents belonged to the melting-pot generation. She is now at home in an egalitarian Conservative congregation where, in 2000, she and ten adult classmates became bar and bat mitzvah. Joanne writes both spiritual and secular poetry and is widely published.