Bat Mitzvah

A poem about connecting with my Ashkenazi heritage.

Today I am a woman.
Today I am a Jew.
Today I have an ailment
my ancestors all knew.

For many generations,
my Fathers’ guts have hurt.
My Mother can’t eat chocolate:
a most unjust dessert.

I gather all my chocolate;
I give it all away.
No more can I digest it;
And I have Crohn’s today.

I feel myself much older
than I have ever known.
Today I have a Crohn’s disease;
Today I am a crone.


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

2 thoughts on “Bat Mitzvah”

  1. Well that sucks. There’s many things that can be done for Crohn’s. A new diagnosis is discouraging at first, but now you know your enemy’s name. Keep up the fight. I still have your hot chocolate recipe.
    You’re not a crone. With your sense of humour and joy and curiousity, you’re forever young. Some days won’t feel like it…

  2. I’ve always loved your work, since seeing it in the Daily Illini (and on the side of a van—or was it another vehicle?), thought of you just now, and looked up your blog. Sorry about your tough diagnosis! Your recipes still look interesting. Best wishes to you.

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