RUTH FOGELMAN, a long-time resident of Jerusalem’s Old City, is the winner of the Reuben Rose Poetry Competition, 2006 and commended winner of the John Reid Traditional Poetry Competition, 2007. Ruth’s first full poetry collection, _Cradled in God’s Arms_, was released in 2009. Ruth is author of _Within the Walls of Jerusalem - A Personal Perspective_. Her poems, articles, short stories and photography have appeared in anthologies and various publications in Israel, the USA and India. Ruth leads the Pri Hadash Women’s Writing Workshop in Jerusalem and holds a Masters Degree from the Creative Writing Program of Bar Ilan University. Her chapbook, _Jerusalem Awaking_, will appear later this year.
by Roger Singer
Peace has no companion with alone,
neither can one color wish to be another.
The day lily of my emotions folds
at dusk, falling from my hands, leaving
long shadows, streaks of dying light
angled from a gasping retreating horizon;
slowly gray becomes a primary color.
I realize there is no perfect time for
you to visit, yet all things remain imperfect
until your return.
A silver thread of night moon
crawls over my face.
The order of day relaxes into long
shadows as gray comforts evening.
Tree tops sing a last song
from curious wind fingers.
Mockingbirds create a stage of sound;
clouds become silk parting curtains.
A mist of tears weeps from the tongues
of weeds and flowers.
The aroma of dark settles onto my chest
like a wave.
My footsteps comfort my ears
on a later September eve.
Dr. Singer served as a med-tech at MacDill AFB in Tampa Florida for three in half years during the Vietnam era. While stationed at MacDill he attended evening classes through the University of Tampa. When discharged he began studies at the University of South Florida attaining his Associate and Bachelor degrees. In 1977, Dr. Singer attained his doctorate in chiropractic from Logan College of Chiropractic, St. Louis, Missouri. Dr, Singer has served on Legislative and Practice Management committees for the American Chiropractic Association, lecturing at a number of chiropractic colleges in the United States, Canada and Australia, and has authored over 50 articles pertaining to chiropractic management and legal guidelines for associates. He has maintained a solo practice for the past 34 years. Dr. Singer has four children; Abigail 30, Caleb 29 (an Army Captain and Airborne Ranger, Andrew 26 and Philip 23.
by Zvi A. Sesling
There among flat sands
the color of a cat
the grey pyramid rises
pointing to heaven
a single finger speaking
to a god forgotten
built by slaves forgotten
their names buried
with them forever
while the pharaoh
nameless for three thousand
years is found and
revered, his fame
in the pyramid that rises
crushed Hebrew bones beneath him
Zvi A. Sesling has been published in more than 100 magazines including Midstream, Poetica, Saranac Review, Asphodel,New Delta Review, Ibbetson Street, Istanbul Literary Review, Chiron Review, Main Street Rag and Haz Mat. In 2004 he won Third Prize in the Reuben Rose International Poetry Competition (2004) and First Prize (2007). In 2008 he was selected to read his poetry at New England/PEN "Discovery" by Sam Cornish, First Poet Laureate of Boston. In 2009 he was a finalist in the Cervena Barva Chapbook Contest and his volume of poetry, King of the Jungle whichwas published recently by Ibbetson Street Press. He edits the Muddy River Poetry Review.
By Mindy Aber Barad
Only my ears ring.
No emergency screams pass,
Just soft whispers of the children -
Their noses in Tehillim.
This long comma,
Separates their bickering
From good-night whining -
To be expected within the hour.
Feet will stamp
They will push each other.
I will pour every ounce of my patience into them
As I send them home.
When my older son returns,
We quietly make Kiddush.
Eat small portions.
No, this is not the way
I had planned dinner -
With one child,
In the waiting room.
We are filled by so little,
Spent with prayer.
My son begins to hum a favorite Nigun,
I join in automatically.
Do we look at each other
Is this the right thing to do?
We sing as if at table,
As if no one is lying anesthetized,
Breathing aparatus covering face,
Behind many doors.
We sing his favorite songs -
And they are ours.
The hallway is now not so silent.
Other children bicker,
Others in pain -
The visiting -
All enveloped in His peace,
For a happy ending.
Mindy Aber Barad moved to Israel in 1977, has a BA from Washington University (St. Louis), and an LLB from Hebrew University. She practiced law, but writing is her first career choice. In 1997 she won second prize in the Jewish Librarians' Choice competition, for a children's story. Her poetry, stories, book reviews and essays have been published in Poetica, Wild Plum, Current Accounts, the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Press, CyclamensandSwords.com and other publications both on and off line. Most recently Mindy has become the Israeli co-editor of The Deronda Review.
You Teach Me Faith
By Yehoshua November
You stand before a stove in winter,
and I know how far I have taken you
the sacrifice you make, as few Jewish women do,
in covering your hair,
your long dark hair,
the one physical possession you were proud of.
And I know this is part of what you give up
so that we may lie beside each other.
And I know it is you who taught me, our lives are not our own.
By Yehoshua November
There is a realm where hidden cabalists, dressed as peddlers, are still walking
along the snowy road to Lubavitch,
and a young boy, once again, pulls his first silver fish out of the lake in Vitebsk.
Time only belongs to this world.
And along the snowy road to Lubavitch
you can still hear the stream spring from beneath a gravestone whose letters have faded.
Time only belongs to this world.
Somewhere I am seeing your face for the first time.
You can still hear the stream spring from beneath a gravestone whose letters have faded.
Somewhere a man begins to chisel the lost name and the years between life and death.
Somewhere I am seeing your face for the first time,
and I am walking back to the yeshiva, lonely, not knowing we will be married.
Somewhere a man begins to chisel the lost name and the years between life and death,
and a young boy, over and over again, pulls his first silver fish out of the lake in Vitebsk.
And I am walking back to the yeshiva, lonely, not knowing we will wed.
There is a realm where the hidden cabalists, dressed as peddlers, are still walking.
Yehoshua November's work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Sun, Margie, Provincetown Arts, New Works Review, and Prairie Schooner, which nominated one of his poems for a Pushcart Prize and selected a group of his poems as the winner of the Bernice Slote Award for emerging writers. His work has also appeared in a few Jewish publications, including the Forward, Europen Judaism, New Vilna Review, Midstream, Poetica, and Zeek. His manuscript, "God's Optimism," is a finalist in the 2009 Autumn House Poetry Prize, and an earlier version of the work was a finalist in the 2008 Spire Press poetry book competition. He teaches at Rutgers University and Touro College.
By Herb Berman
God is the partner of our most intimate soliloquies. ...whenever you are talking to yourself in utmost sincerity and ultimate solitude—he to whom you are addressing yourself may justifiably be called God.
—Victor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning—
the rose and amber slant of dawn
and waking to mystery and Mozart
and she turned to me
in the long black morning
I wake too early
(an affliction of age)
and retreat to my silent gray study
the chiding of squirrels
and a glowing behind the clouds
will bloom into color and song
will squeal down the sidewalk
with slender young mothers
dressed in sunshine and laughter
and I’ll watch them
a voyeur of sorts
an ordinary day
in the life of an ordinary man
who woke up early
and found himself
his unrepentant God
Herb Berman is a semi-retired lawyer and labor arbitrator. He's been published in "East on Central," "Humanistic Judaism," "Lucid Rhythms," "The Chronicle," and the web pages of Highland Park Poetry and The Illinois State Poetry Society. He's placed in two contests sponsored by "Highland Park Poetry." By invitation, he has given readings of his poems at The Deerfield (Illinois) Public Library, Congregation Beth Or in Deerfield, and other venues in the Chicago area.
Going Back Home by anonymous
Thoughts of four cups, Severed by rhythmic tire bumps, Bring on an eerie awareness. I’ve done this a hundred times before. Maybe Geulah? Perhaps just déjà vu.
Betrayed by my caffeine fix, Eyes struggling not to close, Memories struggling to the surface. Like an irritated child tugging at my sleeve. Then I feel I was there. Free. Crossing, embodying, the Yam Suf.
Going back home. An implied contradiction. A sense of moving both forward and backward. Both freedom and bondage. Yet no tension in the phrase.
Then, as I drive on, the neon signs cast me in their glow. The scenery tells me I’m almost there. Just as tonight, we’ll recount the story, As we do every year, of the Jews moving forward. Away from bondage. Towards freedom. Freedom to receive the Torah.
Dr. David Kaufmann is a Professor of English at Tulane University in New Orleans. Among other works, he is the author of the Novel, The Silent Witness, and co-author of the book, Judaism Online: Confronting Spirituality on the Internet.
A giantnight bends over my house. Insilence I dress in black, dry the eyes thatshine a tear and sit lower.
She willdie,the soil of my root, with noimpression left for glory. Her mouth longeddreams that died in her bosom.
For twenty-four years Mother’s lips kneaded words with a pinch of salt. Her beautiful green eyes - colorless.
Cancerripped her yeeud as she sank into pivotal years of panic andanxiety. Mother is lost to her engrossed poverty.
I wonder:during her last Yom Kippur, if thechicken took her sins, did she swing ithigh enough? And prayers,
anyhealing in the words for Mother? Onlypieces of her Moroccan-Jewish heritagegave strength to her faith.
Mother, life’s crimson thread,tie it around your wrist and follow the WingedHarps. A radiance at your feet will guidethe way
through a brief echo of dreams andregrets. You lived, not faithless, but as astudent of silence; infused new vigor intojudgments.
For twenty-four years I cling to barren rocks restingon your unused grave. Each seep of minttea deepens my mortal wounds.
O’Mother, open your eyes and hands. Feel life beforethe end. Remember the Moroccan-French girl wholoved to swing a dance or two, barefoot.
I cannot find comfort. I cry withouta tongue, how long until when how much longer. I bend to Earth from the burden andstrain,
and soak my soul in verses from SeferTehillim. O’ Mother, please forgive my tired limbs punish me. pardon me. O’ Mother, I love you.
Michal Mahgerefteh was born in Israel and has lived in Virginia since 1986. She is the publisher and editor of Poetica Magazine, Reflections of Jewish Thought -www.poeticamagazine.com. Michal's debut collection, In My Bustan, is forthcoming by The San Fancisco Bay Press in early 2009. Michal is an award winning artist, with works exhibited in galleries and art centered located in New York, Virginia, and New Orleans. www.michalmahgerefteh.com.
MOTHER OF MOSES
by Roxanne Hoffman
Bored and barren this baroness,
Royal Daughter of Egypt,
whose beauty much admired,
courted by countless knights,
delighting in all desires,
and yet she remained barren;
no babe would ever swell her womb,
rumble in her belly,
readying itself to burst forth into daylight
from these limber lanky loins
to swell her heart with pride,
to fill her gaze.
And yet, a mother,
catapulted so by circumstance,
basic instinct, a dormant yearning awoken
when she heard this young, strong-lunged crier
afloat in his tiny arc among the reeds.
By birthright plebe - no slave -
and as the son of a Hebrew,
decreed to expire,
to be plunged into the rapid rush of river
and drowned at birth.
She plucked him,
like a wild flower among the weeds,
and made him squire,
hid his tribal colors - a homespun swaddling cloth -
and his birthright to crate and carry caste clay stone
upon his back and never tire,
like his father and his father’s father,
master masons erecting her father’s empire.
She called him son.
She called him Moses.
So they would call him “Sire”
and like her father and her father’s father,
Pharaoh, King of Ancient Egypt.
And so this baroness became a liar
and with Miriam would conspire
to spare this Hebrew boy,
who swelled her heart with pride,
to hear his baby mumble,
to watch this toddler tumble,
and rise to talk and walk a man,
to burst forth like daybreak
and lead a nation
out of Egypt to the Promised Land.
She called him Moses.
She called him son.
Roxanne Hoffman,a former Wall Street banker, now answers a patient hotline for a majorNew York home health care provider. Her poetry is anthologized in The Bandana Republic: A Literary Anthology By Gang Members And Their Affiliates(Soft Skull Press) and can be heard during the independent film, “Love& The Vampire,” directed by David Gold. Her poems have recentlyappeared in Amaze: The Cinquain Journal,Best Poem: A Literary Journal, Champagne Shivers, Clockwise Cat, MOBIUS The Poetry Magazine, Mirror Dance and in the Canadian journal Inscribed.She and her husband own the small press, POETS WEAR PRADA, specializingin limited edition poetry chapbooks. Visit her online at http://poetswearpradanj.home.att.net to find out more about her press.