As we travelled back from a London weekend
in the Quiet Zone on the afternoon express
three very young, head scarved mothers nursed
their newborns and chattered softly all the way.
At Chester they headed for the North Wales train.
Not far from the Great Orme Tramway Station,
Church Walks, Llandudno, and near St Georges,
is a three storey detached house whose ground floor
has been a synagogue for a century
and more. Lubavitch rabbis officiate.
Above the shul, to facilitate
a minyan, are holiday apartments.
In summer months there are pop-up kosher shops
and activities. Families stroll along
the promenade – the men, black suited,
with trimmed or untrimmed beards, fedoras
or keppels, some with earlocks – past the strident
evangelicals by the bandstand.
What would the Lubavitcher Rebbes –
during their century of solitude
in the shetl among the darkening forests
and the gorging marshes of Belarus,
who only knew of oceans from God’s words –
have made of Jews, their Jews, sauntering
beneath the sun and beside the sea no less,
safely and kosherly among the goyim!
Somewhere among the streets below the Orme
is the six week post-partum retreat
the new mothers were travelling to
with their unknown futures.