VI. New Places


The Archeologist, Still an Intern, Pauses


Beneath stacked societies and the slow creep

of evolution, she finds a knife hacked from stone,

honed by flint and use.  Shards of bowls

            next to it, chips in the ashes.


This was the kitchen of a home.  Most likely

the knife once cut flesh from the hide

of antelope, and maybe something like bread.

            She sees no spears,


no feathered crowns, no trace of shattered skulls.  

Her colleagues test its ancient stains:

no smudge of human blood found at the edge.

            There might have been a peaceful time.

—Florence Weinberger




On Utopia


Oh! Another quixotic utopia

with the wonders of a perfect place!

But why not Arcadia beyond the corner,

the one society where one’s actions can help?


On the extremes, there are no faults

without reproach in body and in soul.

Let Shangri-La give its concert,

played by the beautiful immortal lady.


Come across time to the golden age

when, without effort, you did much.

You are invited to a gilded lifestyle

of philosophers with servants on hand.


Then go over the Sambatyon River

to meet the warriors of the ten tribes.

Behold their age-old customs

and work in harmony with the land.


Come and watch Hollywood,

with unmatched creativity

of otherworldly adventures,

inhabited by incomparable heroes.


Visit Israel as the land

of flowing milk and honey.

Over five thousand books written

about her by starry-eyed travelers!


Utopia means a way of life

where back-breaking work becomes easy.

Leaders in every age, for every age, proclaim it

And they come and go, like the air we breathe.

                                                                                                —Hayim Abramson








238. Thirteen Bottles

amber glass, embossed, labels,”Shaker Tin Restorer” 7 3/4″ h; ”Shaker Pickles,”

7″ h; ”Shaker Digestive Cordial, ”6 ”h;   ”Shaker Cherry Pectoral Syrup,”

Canterbury, NH, No. 1. Circa 1847  $1, 140


We are seldom ill. We receive long lives

and splendid health. Perhaps it is our clear

country air or our sturdy diet, home

grown fruits and vegetables, canned in our

own kitchen by our busy strong hands. More

it seems than we can preserve. It becomes

an ever-bounteous table round the year,

but our produce is best eaten in season.

Six pies a day. Each! We work with great energy

in our fields and at our daily tasks. Haying,

threshing, churning, even laundry is heavy

labor, hefting baskets, full sixty pounds each,

and each must be carried to the top floors

of the dwelling. Thus we stay strong.

And our tables blessed also by little strife.

Yet we know the ills of the world, the pang

of the mother in labor, the twisting spasm

of gall bladder and kidney stone, shock of

angina, and the wheezing hunger for air,

so we make our little gifts to the men and women

outside, without insisting they join us, our remedies

offered to all.
                                                                                          —Kelley Jean White MD




From this point on there is only silence. From my house to the beach I've cleared away everything.

Hired musclemen worked from night to morning clearing away what was left of the city.

From here to the sea there is only a long junkyard lying motionless and voiceless.


So at dawn I put on my coat and walked out the door

At such an hour. Not to rebel.  Not to repair. And not as a prophet wrapped

In a mantle.  I went to inspect my kingdom, an innocent stroll

And to see it suddenly in a different light.


Admiel Kosman

Translated by Esther Cameron





I waited for the heat to break

to walk out into this mauve evening.

Convex rows of lights distantly gleam

as the hills layer broadly down to the sea.

Lupines grow here amidst the thistles

and just beyond, thickening stands of trees appear.

I move into a sudden scent of pine

carried eastward by the breeze.  Here and there

cypress stand erect against the deepening sky.

In this new place my eyes don’t leave the path

although they want to watch the stars emerge 

and add their glitter from afar.

The silence of this high open space sings,

pristine, peaceful, full of promise.

Erika Zeisel







This is the central God who is now passing through our neighborhood.

He heals and fixes everything, and he has time in abundance, no one

Pushes any more.  Yesterday, today, tomorrow, he smiles.

Now he is the central God who comes as a glazier.


A glazier. A new glazier for repairs. From every balcony, all

Members of the family and the neighbors, they all see him now,

Lean and thin as he is, almost transparent, passing by,

With complete tranquillity repairing and setting in order, oh

You have nothing to worry about, ma'am, everything shines

Now, the windows and the lights, everything

New and polished, thus the business

Of life is turning out well,

For my central God is passing

As a glazier through our neighborhood.


This is the central, the supreme, the exalted God, and he is now passing

Through our neighborhood as a gardener.  With a rake and a spade and one broken pail.  He

Weeds and cultivates, on the garden of the neighbor on the left he scatters

An eternal dust of radiance, on the burn-scar of the future, of the past, what

Is there to be afraid of here he smiles


To the old man and the old woman, nothing is

Too late, you see I have

Counsel, I have insight, I have

Forgiveness, I have understanding, and again

God smiles, this is the central God,

Of glory, of mists, of angels and the Shekhinah,

For my people in my neighborhood, who are so tired,

Yesterday, today, tomorrow.


This is the central God, the highest, the supreme, the exalted God,

Now passing through our neighborhood with a wheelbarrow, this is the professional

God, the plasterer, the molder of grace, the painter

Of abundance, on the wheelbarrow between the paper-rolls and the tiles

He's also carrying the plasterboard of knowing

And choice, while this God, thin as he is, the central

God, the God who fixes, who many

Years ago poured the foundations of this universe, pure and clear, seated

Upon the cherubim, mighty and dazzling, Lord, Creator, Maker, and his voice

Speaks equity, wrapping himself in light as a cloak, this

God is now passing through my home in complete tranquillity,

Fixing up and setting in good order

Whatever came by way of transgression.


Admiel Kosman

Translated by Esther Cameron






Everybody's looking for that Responsible Adult;

and when that Responsible Adult

walks into the room, everyone will know it

even the nervous dogs that shy when you make a move.


They slink, so you have to sit quietly, minding your own business,

concentrating very gently on your time-consuming nemesis.

Then they'll come up to you and check your scent.

They're like the subdued men in laundromats,

standing quietly by themselves,

with their own personal habits and grimaces,

when a sudden thought or disappointment

will inflame them; they start up

in impotent fury, impotent because defused.

Their anger flares up and dies away.


Everyone is looking for that Responsible Adult,

and when that One comes,

even the dogs and old men will know it—

they most of all—

and they'll laugh and say,

”Now we're all really going to get fed!”

Reuven Goldfarb






How many miracles happened to us in this house:

That the slippers were always at hand to be put on

At the threshold, the entrance to the living room.

That the heap of dirty laundry

Would whiten, get worn, and return to its heap,

That the dishes piled themselves in the sink by themselves,

The work of goblins reveling at night.

The bears still sleep in the beds

Whenever the children are absent,

The toothbrushes gossip together,

The creaking of doors murmurs a heavy song,

And in all this there is man and there is wife

There are clothes and there is blessing

There is overflow and there is sipping

There is blood and there is a tear

And a tongue of crimson cloth that whitens every evening

After midnight.

                           Efrat Bigman

                           translated by Esther Cameron




Missiles and Molotov Cocktails


Missiles and Molotov cocktails

fly across our Gaza border.

Fire crosses our Syrian border

while within our borders, terrorists

set our land aflame

and maim and kill our daughters and sons.


And yet, doves fly at the Western Wall

and pigeons coo on our window ledge

as we mourn and celebrate

as if we have two hearts.


We love, have babies

as if we have no battles,

build families

as if we have no wars

and with the hope

that charges our vision

we live each day to the full.

—Ruth Fogelman





”How Goodly are thy Tents, O Jacob”

                                                     from Bat Ayin


By October, before the biting winter wind,

starlings  weave twigs

and leaves in the crook of a tree,      

while the people of Bat Ayin

are nesting in the distant hills.


 From my perch I look through

the morning mist to the speck of a man

adding another white slat to his sloping roof,

leaving an opening for the pipe of the stove

that will warm them against the cold.


From here I can see the wings

of his son’s white shirt, his daughter’s

pink dress  and can hear their laughter

in harmony with the birdsong  

not far above my head.


Suddenly, a bird flies by me

with a red thread in his beak,

so pleased to pleasure his mate

for something bright to feather her nest.

I imagine the man has put aside


his hammer and nails, his struggle to make

the roof secure and tight, to surprise his wife

with a bouquet of wildflowers from their newly cleared

front yard. In the midst of sawdust and splinters  

she will improvise a vase in that lovely sunlit space and smile.


Meanwhile, high on a mountain in a green tent

tucked between the cypress, acacia and pine,

a young soldier, struggling to keep awake,

was up all night, listening to the jackals howl

and guarding us, and this rain-sweetened earth.


Weeks ago we lived in makeshift huts.   

Open to the stars, reminding us of what is transient

and what endures. If, heaven forbid, forces

stronger than winter winds prevail

we may be knocked down, but never erased.


Knowing we have enemies beyond these hills

Who wait for us to assume we are safe, to knock

these houses down from their stilts, we have named

this place* to remind our God, ”guard us like the precious

pupil of an eye and shelter us in the shadow of your wings.”

 .  .  .

I am only looking in and soon

I will be gone, while you read these lines

not knowing why I have come,

what I have tried, and why I am moving on

before the work is done.

—Roberta Chester

*The name ”Bat Ayin” means ”pupil of the eye.”






In two high-rise buildings, meetings of residents were scheduled

At the same hour.

In Building A:

Do not walk on the grass.

Do not place bags of garbage beside the dumpsters.

Do not make noise.

Do not scratch the elevator with your bicycle.

Please pay your fees to the house committee.

In Building B:

Thank you for the welcome cake delivered to the new resident.

Thank you for the hot meals cooked for the neighbor who gave birth.

Thanks to the neighbor who brings a glass of water to the person cleaning the hall.

Thanks for agreeing to the Shabbat elevator.

Thanks to all who care.

Nitsa Dori






I crossed seven rivers of fire

Seven Sabbaths and another Sabbath of weeping

And in my mouth is a taste of rest that was taken away at twilight

And the holy day prayer and the hubbub of children in the courtyards

And there is no breach nor outburst nor wailing in our streets.

—Amichai Chasson

translated by Esther Cameron




from The Land Isebute: Excerpts Concerning the Origin, Location, and Customs of the Land and Its Inhabitants


How To Reach The Land Isebute

In the midst of tangled, wintry roads, there is a country. Who built the country and when that country was built is now forgotten, but one thing has been remembered forever: it appeared owing to one’s imagination and since then it has never ceased to develop. The country was generated from a matter that has constantly produced new forms, and if you look at it from above you would get an impression of a living kaleidoscope . . .

. . . If you place yourself closer to the windowpane in which wintry ornaments gleam on nightly canvas you’ll distinguish numerous winding paths leading to the Land Isebute. But please, be patient! Don't ask which path will bring you faster to Isebute: the way itself matters, and in each case this way must be unique.

       Isebute is a country that cannot be found on the regular map. So, if in a wintry night you examine your windowpane you may find on its surface a glossy road map that shows you the way to this country.  Only you know how many days and nights you’ve spent, searching for this map and blaming everybody for its disappearance . . .


The Geography . . . And Requirements For Citizenship

Another very strange thing about Isebute is that its visitors cannot agree on how it looks, and they give very conflicting descriptions of its landscape, architecture, and even climate. Thus, some of them state that Isebute is a mountainous area with harsh climate and gothic architecture—a perfect place for philosophers and poets. Others insist that this is a land of lakes with a landscape of plains and a nice, mild weather suitable for dreamers of all kinds. I, personally, heard that Isebute was located under a special sphere that was created to maintain an artificial climate and, thus, increase engineering creativity of its citizens.

      However, if you really want to know about this country you must refer to poetry. Only in poetry can one find some traces of Isebute, but who takes poetry for a serious source of knowledge? Indeed, if you seek a detailed information about this country, you’d better find another source because poetry may only deliver you a message and the ability to accept it depends exclusively on you. If you only knew how many readers turned those pages—but nothing happened! They thoroughly read rhymes and words. But in vain! They didn’t get the message and they wondered if there was any . . .

. . . To become an Isebuter one must be born with certain qualities, not on a certain territory. One becomes an Isebuter only on condition that he possesses the Isebuter’s mentality. Only then he will learn successfully how to speak Isebutish and will be finally considered a native speaker. Otherwise, his heavy accent will give him away. No matter how far from this country you are, if you are born to be an Isebuter you will sooner or later become its citizen: your inner compass is pointed at this country and there is no chance that you’d miss it.


The Book Of Isebute

Have you ever read a book that was written exclusively for you and has been waiting for you for ages? Haven’t you? Oh, I see—you doubt that such a book exists. I know. Nevertheless, it does. Ask any Isebuter and he will point at the Bibute—the Book of Isebute, an ancient collection of thoughts written especially for you. Everybody knows this book, but nobody knows what’s in there for you because this is what only you should know. And if you don’t read it then the lives of generations are wasted . . .

. . . In its preface it states:   ”This book has been waiting for you for a long, long time. Generations have touched these pages before leaving for their eternal journey, but there has been always an anticipation of You. And now You have come, the Reader of the Bibute. Talk to me.  ”


From The Bibute

If you think that it is only your place that is capable of generating life, you are wrong. Life is life, and no one could tell you what life is not, because even a divine creature that is supposed to live forever cannot permeate the forbidden zone of non-existence. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be the non-existence. Thus, life is everywhere, and it is only a matter of one’s definition whether to call it life or something else. Everything starts with definitions. If they claim to be universal, they may one day fail, for one can always elaborate conditions in which general rules don’t work.


—Vera Zubarev



The Fall


I had been too long in the garden

an eternity of days stretched before me

I was ready to be tempted

to taste the sweetness before the first bite

I'd often imagined it, seen the fruit

as if already fallen on the lush grass

so that the eating itself seemed a lesser evil

inevitable, almost preordained

Otherwise , I reasoned, why had the tree

been placed just so, in the middle of the garden

if not to delight the eye and mind?

It was only later, after the storm

had felled the proud trees

that I saw the serpent coiled in my heart.

—Dina Yehuda




Conversation in a neglected garden; 

Or, socialism from THE Torah


The homeowner went down into the garden and sat by the pool.

The garden — it was quite spacious, and the pool could be called a lake or even an ocean — was not visible from the street; you would not guess its presence behind the modest, slightly neglected house that resembled the other houses in the row. The homeowner was not noticed either when he left the house and walked about the city. No one knew him and no one thought about the fact that they did not know him. They just did not focus on him.

The homeowner sat on the bench and looked around. The place was beautiful. All the plants and bushes and trees were flourishing; and on the lawn and among the trees and in the air the beasts and insects and the birds crept and crawled and flew, for they did not devour each other. There was no trace of the ugliness out there, in the city built on the cursed earth – it looked worse every time he left the house. But here something was missing. Everything was beautiful, just a bit disorganized. There was no one to work the land, plant flowerbeds and orchards. He had no one to talk to. That was why he'd created them; it is not good to be alone.

Deep in thought, he felt a hand on his shoulder and did not have to turn his head to know who the hand belonged to. The one he had created at the beginning of his way, the one who used to play before him. She had left the house long ago, probably wandering around town; he preferred not to think about her doings. But now he did not have the heart to scold her.

 ”You have to write something,” she said without preamble.

Without turning his head, he said, ”I already tried that. I gave them what I wrote with my own finger, I gave myself to them, but they preferred their own work.”

He heard a slight sigh. ”Yes, the old conflict. Even at the start they did not listen to you. They wanted to know for themselves, you gave them free will ...”

  ”Yes, I gave in to them and let them build the world they wanted ... although it's hard for me to think they really wanted that world ... ”

 ”They lost control, ” she said.  ”Their competitiveness ... ”

 ”... starting with Cain and Abel ...” he growled.

 ”... Their will became divided ... And I think they took some seeds from the tree of knowledge when they left here, they have gone on eating of its fruits ... One invention leads to another, and they have to adapt, and whoever controls the inventions controls the people ...”

 ”Strange,” he mused. ”When I told man he would have to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, I meant it as a curse, but when man is replaced by his machines, the ability to earn his bread becomes a blessing hard to come by.”

 ”You must intervene!”

 ”But I tried to intervene! I gave them the Sabbath, so that they could recover once a week from the rat—race ... I asked them for sacrifices, I told them over and over that the earth is mine ... I gave them the Sabbatical year to restore a bit of equality. It was supposed to be a mechanism for correcting the tendency toward increasing inequality that's inherent in the economic process. But the mechanism never worked well, and now it is not functioning at all. ”

 ”That mechanism was intended to function in an agricultural society ... ”

 ”Yes, to a technological society it no longer seems that relevant. The problem is that they can't take a hint, they don't know how to apply the principles to the new situation, their brains are hostage to that cursed process. They distort the human character by advertising and entertainment, until I no longer recognize My image in them. ”

There was a long silence. Finally she said, ”You know what? You need to write a novel.”

 ”A novel?! ”

 ”Yes, a novel.  You have already given them laws, but at present the laws are not being obeyed, or are being distorted.  Now you have to tell them a story in which they behave the right way and repair the world. You'll write it so brilliantly, and make the happy end so appealing, that they'll imitate your characters of their own free will.”

 ”You mean a Utopian novel. How many Utopian novels have been written, do you think?  They've helped even less than my Torah.  And since when have I been a novelist?”

 ”First of all: shall the Creator be less persistent than the inventors He created?! They persist until they do the impossible. For hundreds of years they dreamed of a flying machine, until someone managed to invent it. The novel that will show the right way to repair the world has not yet been written. And, of course, you won't write under Your own name.  You'll dictate it to me, and I'll give it to some person who will think it's his idea. ”

 ”Yes, ” he said bitterly,”and everyone will be jealous of him.”

 ”If they catch the vision, they will not be jealous.”

After another silence, he sighed and said, ”Well, let's give it a try. At this point there isn't much to lose.” After a few minutes he began to speak in a firm voice, and she took out a notepad and began to write.

 ”I will take for my hero a genius who has made a fortune in computers. He came from a pious Jewish background, of course he no longer keeps the mitzvot, but before he got off the straight path he learned something.  I'll have him do teshuvah.”  

 ”How will you get him to do teshuvah?”

 ”Somehow or other.  Maybe his son will commit suicide because he sees no meaning in existence.  Maybe he will be diagnosed with a terminal illness and think he does not have much time left to live ... And maybe he will just see the possibility of an amazing work that will be possible if he can correct the distortion, and that will bring him back of his own free will. One fine morning he will wake up with the thought that if mankind has reached a state where almost everything defined as work can be done by a machine, then there is no need for man to work at all, but only to play and take care of his soul. Everything ought to be play!  

  ”Armed with this insight, he starts picking up the hints that I have dropped throughout the tradition. For instance, he is reminded of the eight levels of charity that Maimonides recognized, the higher one Is to help a person find work so that he can make a decent living. It turns out that in the present situation, an even higher level is needed: the invention of an economic system that will enable every honest person to make a decent living without needing gifts or exploiting others. He remembers that the whole earth belongs to Me, I created the laws of nature which they are exploiting, and which give the economic process its momentum, and no one has the right to take all the fruits of this process for himself. He thinks about all those games where there are winners and losers, but there are also rules that prevent them from really harming each other, and he thinks: now we need to set rules that will allow people to play the economic game without mutual damage.”

 ”A kind of socialism, is not it?”

 ”Yes, the socialists have grasped part of my intention ... But the socialism of my hero — I shall call him Yosef, of course — will be improved, sophisticated.  The first socialists had a saying: to each according to his ability, from each according to his need. But for some reason they didn't try to gather information, to find out what the abilities and needs of all the individuals really were.  Yosef understands that this is the main task, and it is precisely computers that can help with it — that can store information and match resources and needs.

 ”He also understands that he can't invent such a system alone. Many minds have to be connected, somewhat the way computers are connected on the Internet, so he decides to fund a huge research institute and recruit people with knowledge and good middot — people who will recognize one other, because that's indispensible to the formation of connections.”

 ”Don't forget to give him a wife,” she remarked. ”A little extra understanding will come in handy, and every novel needs a love interest.”

 ”And what will she do, his ‘woman of valor’?”

 ”For one thing she will recruit other women — ”bnot binah” — to help with the task.  And don't forget the poets, they have a holistic sense that could be very useful. Also an eye for the significant detail. *

 ”And what about my Torah?”

 ”What a question!  Of course, the first thing your hero will do will be to go back to his old teacher, and perhaps the teacher will find him a wife, or recommend that he remarry the one he divorced before he became religious, and the teacher will also find scholars who will advise the group so they won't recommend anything that goes against the Torah.”

He gave a short laugh: ”And what shall I do with the wicked?”

For a moment her face fell. ”Listen, sometimes I think you should not leave so much up to free will. If you were, for example, to add —or create some mad scientist who would add to the atmosphere some kind of gas that would moderate the hormones a bit….”

 ”You know what happened when I allowed the sages to slay the evil inclination?! ”

 ”All right, all right, forget I said that.” Then, sounding as hopeful as she could: ”But even without that, there is strength in the spirit.  ‘Not by might and not by power but by My spirit.’ You had a prophet say that once.”

 ”Yes, I had almost forgotten ... Well, let's say that my Yosef initiates a process, and people understand that it is a great thing that restores meaning to life, and more and more join until the wicked find themselves isolated.  Yes, like with the lower waters — if there is enough fresh water the salt water doesn't come in. In the end I made the creative power stronger than the destructive power.”

He was silent until she finished writing.”Well,” he said,  ”I think that's it, you can take it.”

She took a deep breath. ”Now I have to find a writer who can describe all this, in fresh colors and with characters that come to life.”

 ”And don't forget to find readers for the book ... ”

 ”Actually it will be enough if just one person reads it. But you know, you will have to help them a lot.  They’ll need many miracles.”

 ”Revealed miracles? ”

 ”The hidden ones will be enough, I think.”

He gazed around him for a moment and then rose to accompany her. ”Who knows, maybe someday I'll have some company here again. And then you'll come back too?”

 ”Of course.”

—Esther Cameron

*For a ”Utopia of poets,” see ”The Hexagon” and ”The Hexagon Foundation,”   Also see the epic poem The Consciousness of Earth (available on Amazon).






Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We, the architects, in whose desk drawers

Are blueprints for column, gate and crown of glory.

We will draft courtyards from the Tractate of Measurements

A palace the eye will never be sated with seeing.


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We, the sages, the teachers of teachings,

Who sit in study halls toiling in Torah,

We shall meditate on the laws of the sanctuary

To gain for the people the treasure of purity.


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We, who come up to rejoice on the holy mountain,

Barefoot as beggars on three pilgrim feasts,

And with the groans and hot tears of our prayers

(Disguised, out of fear, as friendly conversation)

We're digging foundations in earth unforgotten


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We who live in two-thousand-year exile

Mourning the loss of the house on stone pavements

Praying to see Your return in compassion

We will gather the memory of those years

And build it into the dwelling of delight


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We, the youth who give gladness

To your special children, encourage them

And comfort their pain.  From the stocks of suffering

We'll make the scaffolding for the construction.


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We, who embroider the curtains with threads,

Who grind flour for offerings and spices for incense,

Who act as guides on the path to the mount,

From the beauty and might of our faith and trust

We'll pour the foundations for the building.


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We, the little children

Who lend a hand to their fathers and brothers

By singing Psalms in mighty chorus.

The breath of our mouths and the echo of our skipping

Raise walls and hoist banners for the garden of God.


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We who spin dreams with innocent mind,

Who write poems with pure intention,

Who depict the city in radiant sunlight,

We will restore the spirit in splendor

To the cynic soul so wrinkled and lightless


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We, the pioneers of high-tech,

Who formulate algorithms from the valley of chips

We'll set up virtureality on the mountains

And in vehicles driven by no careless driver

We'll bring to You all who desire to ascend


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We, the young leaders

Who believe in ”Jerusalem light to the nations,  ”

Who after exile stand straight and proud

We'll bring the prophets' words to fruition


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We, the women who make the homes of beauty.

Who sing cradle songs for temple and holiness,

Who raise sons to fight for the land,

We'll catch in vessels the tears of parenthood

And ignite them as incense in the inmost place.


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

We, the soldiers crowned with courage and humility,

Who guard Your walls and fight in Your name,

Who swear loyalty to Your people at the Wall,

In Your holiest name we will doff our uniforms

And don the robes of Levite and priest


Who will build the house in Jerusalem?

I'll build the house, My children,

For your thought is most pleasing in My sight,

I will take your words for bricks

And your children for priests.

Behold thus says the Lord, the living God

From the words of my twelve tribes

In the city of the redeemed I will build My palace.

—Ricky Yuval

translated by Esther Cameron





The magic of it all—

from the goat’s hair and sweet scent,

two cherubs fashioned from one ball,

flapping their wings as we repent

by the desert tabernacle tent.


We’ve come in silent stealth

to catch a glimpse, to be uplifted

by an interior overlaid with wealth,

gathered in Egypt while none resisted

the holiness for which it existed.


The gold rimmed ark

with its blue purple veil,

brass corner horns iridescent in the dark,

so brazen in their appeal

for the Lord of Hosts’ seal.


But we must not lose sight

of the cause of so much wonder—

the six branched menorah light

that illuminates every blunder

so we won’t be led asunder…


‘til the House of All Peoples can emerge,

‘til the pathways of peace converge.

                                      —Leah Gottesman






It's another country upon a map

I draw upon a page in the future,

take a pencil let the lines reach.  There,

carefully draft the outlines, wrap


each place with imaginary scenes,

anything at all that comes to mind,

sometimes.  Perhaps a dream to remind

me of what I thought that redeems


the days that got lost.  Make up for the past,

for the errors that I made.  Recoup

the moments that fell away.  Out of the loop

onto surer shores, to be free.  At last,


maybe, in a place, reorganize.  Regroup

for a while, though I know it's not the first stop.

—Zev Davis