Category Archives: Poetry

The Rebbe’s First Cousin

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The Rebbe’s first cousin, a daughter of the Rebbe’s father’s brother, was Israeli poet Zelda Schneerson Mishkovsky. Known simply as Zelda, she won the Bialik Prize and was widely read – and loved. Born in Russia in 1912, she passed away in Jerusalem in 1984. She had made aliya with her mother in 1926. Marcia Falk has translated a her poems, and a bilingual edition has been published. The following poem is taken from that work (you can click on the image for a larger version):

Zelda_schneerson_poem

Zelda remained Orthodox her entire life. Marcia Falk’s book contains a brief biogrophy that should be of interest to many Chabadniks.

A special thank you to Schneur for his help on the genealogy of Zelda and it’s link to the Rebbe.

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Allen Mastbaum, ztz’l

My friend Allen Mastbaum recently passed away. Mastbaum’s mother was a cousin of the pre-WW2 Belzer Rebbe, and that rebbe gave him a blessing for long life. Allen Mastbaum lived for 98 1/2 years, surviving the Holocaust and post-war pogroms, including the Kielce pogrom.

You can click on the image to enlarge the text:

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For the Ethiopian Jews

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This week was Sigd, the Ethiopian Jewish holiday reminiscent of Shavuot. For hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years, Ethiopian Jews gathered on this day to remember Jerusalem and the giving of the Torah. What follows are photos of this year’s event from Arutz Sheva (more photos and other coverage here) and a poem written by Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet Charles Adés Fishman, from his book Chopin’s Piano. (A special thank you to Charles Fishman and Time Being Books for graciously allowing me to reprint this.)

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© Charles Adés Fishman

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Farbrengen, Crown Heights, 770

Farbrengen

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Kiruv

Leap of Faith
©Shmarya Rosenberg

A child
would not  cross empty streets
without looking

or talk to strangers,
no matter how inviting.

He grew up.

He opened his gates
just a little

and they entered,
these men in black,
priests of ba’al in the clothing
of Maimonides,

and he walked with them
slowly at first, then faster and
faster still,

deceived by their charms and
the talismans of their lies,

until he stood with them at the edge,
too far to cross.

"We will fly as our forefathers
to the other side," they said.
"Come!"

And as they watched, so he did,
jumping into unknown air,

alone,

arms flailing,
deep in the void,
dashed on the rocks,

grasping for the promises of men
looking down
who themselves
would never
have taken

this
same

leap

of

faith.

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Calling All Poets and Short Story Writers

I’ve decided to publish occasional poems and short stories as guest posts. If you want to submit your writing, email me. The link is on the right sidebar. Poems should be short, usually no more than 20 lines. Short stories should be 2500 words or less. No erotica.

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For Her Daughter

I thought it might be nice to post an occasional poem not written by me. Here is a wonderful piece written by Shirley Kaufman, an award-winning Jewish feminist poet from Seattle who has lived in Israel since the early 1970s. This is from her recent book, Threshold:

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