Tag Archives: shofar

Silent Meditation

by Natalie Zellat Dyen (Huntington Valley, PA)

The earth spins
Through hours and days and seasons
To a time of stillness
When the shofar sounds
And we reflect on the dark nights
Of angry words and stricken souls
Of broken bodies and broken promises
Of empty spaces left by those who are no more
And we reflect on the bright days
Of birth and breath
Of music and miracles
Of kind acts and loving arms
And the gravity that keeps us firmly grounded
As the earth spins.

So we reflect
And repent
And look ahead
And promise to do better
And give more
And love more
As the shofar sounds
And we turn to face the new year
And the earth spins
And we go round again.

Natalie Zellat Dyen is a freelance writer and photographer living in Huntingdon Valley, PA. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia Stories, The Willow Review, Global Woman Magazine, Intercom Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and other newspapers and journals. Links to Natalie’s published work are available atwww.nataliewrites.com.

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Filed under American Jewry, poetry

Me, George Herbert, and the High Holidays

by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)

What do I, little Jewish boy from Brooklyn,
have in common with George Herbert,
17th century metaphysical poet and priest?
A lot more than you might think,
he in italics, me in Times New Roman.
I Struck the board and cry’d, No more.
How many times have I abandoned
the temple, the service, and my God?
But as I rav’d and grew more fierce and wilde
at every word….
How many times have I rebelled
at droning words, incomprehensible to my ears?
Me thoughts I heard one calling, ‘Childe.’
And I reply’d, ‘My Lord.’
And so, when the shofar sounds this year,
for reasons I can’t fully explain,
I will be sitting in my usual seat, Row U, Seat 4,
saying “God, I am here,” despite, or maybe
because of, all questions and doubts,
looking to find the exquisite moments of
wonderment and epiphany
I suspect are there.

The author of twelve books for young adults, Mel Glenn has lived nearly all his life in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught English at A. Lincoln High School for thirty-one years.  Lately, he’s been writing poetry, and you can find his most recent poems in a new YA anthology, This Family Is Driving Me Crazy,  edited by M. Jerry Weiss.

If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit: http://www.melglenn.com/

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Filed under American Jewry, Jewish identity, poetry

First Day of Religious School

by Arlyn Miller (Glencoe, IL)

A new beginning, possibility born
from the holiness of Ne’ilah.
The gates have closed –
the gates have opened.

Families walk, children skipping or dragging along.
Cars pull up surrounding the synagogue,
a staccato symphony of doors slamming shut.
Wide open, the door to Am Shalom
welcomes her people of peace.

The New Year is ushered in
with the annual pilgrimage
to the first day of religious school.

The Rabbi sings to the children –
abandon and zeal on the heels
of a not long broken fast.
The children sing back,
sparked and spirited.

How can we deny the Divine?

Yesterday, during Yom Kippur morning service
the ominous sky decreed  torrential rain.
This morning, sun lights the world anew
radiant as the children’s voices –
ruach resounding
like the shofar’s call
announcing the New Year.

This poem is Arlyn Miller’s first installment in her project this year to chronicle the life of her synagogue (Am Shalom in Glencoe, IL) as its Writer in Residence.   A writer herself, Arlyn teaches creative writing in schools and in the community through Poetic License, Inc.  You can find out more about her and her work at www.poeticlicenseinc.net.

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Filed under American Jewry, poetry