Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Israel at 64

As I listened to Prime Minister Netanyahu's Independence Day Greeting (in English) to Israel's supporters, I thought of the old Beatles song, "When I'm 64" (BTW, Paul McCartney, who turns 70 in June, looks lots younger in real life than he does in that cartoon video from "Yellow Submarine" - back then, anyone over 30 was considered ancient).  Netanyahu did not dwell on Holocaust imagery or the Iranian threat, a prime topic lately, as demonstrated most vividly when he spoke on Yom Hashoah, but rather he spoke of Israel's "unwavering support" from its tens of millions of friends worldwide.  Many, including Elie Wiesel, have rejected Netanyahu's comparisons of the Iranian threat to the Holocaust, precisely because Israel does have so many friends, something the Jewish people did not have during World War Two. But Bibi could well have ended his video with a lilting refrain directed toward the WHite House, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" Netanyahu has his doubts.  Shimon Peres, on the other hand, has great confidence that the US can take the lead on this matter and will act militarily if necessary. It seems at times that they are contradicting each other, except that they both reflect the two sides of how we feel.  We want to trust...but we fight off very potent demons and vivid memories of betrayal.

Israel does have lots of friends, including most American Jews and many more (in pure numbers) American Christians.  As this 64th birthday arrives, we're concerned that the gap between American Jews and Israel appears to be widening.  A major survey released last month indicates that only 20 percent of American Jews see support for  Israel as a core component of their Jewish identity.   On the other hand, Birthright Israel has now brought 300,000 young people to Israel, and on May 18 we'll be celebrating the program's 10thanniversary.  We invite all local Birthright alumni to join us that Shabbat. 

Many rabbis now are reluctant to speak about Israel because it has become a polarizing topic in their shuls. In a recent essay in The New Republic, Leon Wieseltier bemoans the "lost artof being able to both criticize and defend Israel at the same time.  Open, honest expansive dialogue on Israel is of course at the heart of our approach here at TBE, which has led to our bringing in speakers with diverse views, from  Jeremy Ben Ami and Thomas Friedman to Bret Stephens and Michael Oren.  The lost art of loving Israel as she is yet also wanting her to be even better has never really been lost.  But too many resort to demonizing the other.  We can be helped by the current issue of the Hartman Instutute's journal Havruta, which is dedicated to the topic "Engaging Israel: The Limits of Criticism."  

Last night at Israel's Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration on Mt Herzl, where a soldier was killed last week during an accident as the program was being rehearsed, the message from Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin: Don't take Israel for granted.  That is a message we all should heed.  Israel is too precious for us not to care deeply about it - and we should care enough to defend it both from external enemies and internal injustices, and, as was possibly the case in the Mt Herzl accident, negligence.

I am happy to announce that there is a place where one can love Israel and be critical at the same time - and that place is Israel itself.  Read here the text of Rivlin's speech, spoken to an entire nation. It is a masterpiece of mature reflection. Rivlin's speech began with a mention of the external threats Israel faces but centered on what he said was an internal enemy which threatens Israel's future - an enemy which he identified as "the extremists" and zealotry on all sides of the political and social spectrum.

Some excerpts:

"The struggle against those who set mosques on fire is not between leftists and settlers," he said, "it is a struggle against zealots."

"The struggle against those who spit in the face of an eight-year-old girl is not a struggle between secular people and haredim, but a struggle against marginal extremists. The struggle against those who team up with our worst enemies, who fight against Israel's right to exist, is not a struggle between left and right or between Jews and Arabs, but a struggle against zealotry and zealots. The struggle against those who see women's singing in the IDF as 'an hour of destruction,' a decree over whose trespass death is preferable, is not a struggle between secular Zionism and religious Zionism. This is a struggle against zealotry."

Rivlin said that he does not fear the settlement enterprise. "I fear the zealots," he repeated. "I fear the extremism. I fear those who do not hesitate to break the rules in the name of the righteousness of their path; those who do not fear the destruction of the Third Commonwealth." 

Rivlin went on to mention the protests against the high cost of living that swept Israel last summer, saying that the past year had revealed an Israel "that cares more."

"We've seen a glimpse of a bright Israeli future," he said.

Rivlin also recalled the public debates over the exclusion of women from the public sphere that have taken place over the past year, and invited all sectors of Israeli society - Arabs, Jews, relgious, and secular - to work together for Israel's future.

Israelis bear the responsibility for the success and future of the country, he said.

Meanwhile, at 64 and with nearly eight million citizens, Israel continues to be a miracle unfolding.  Read about Israel's top 64 innovations, many of which we take for granted in our lives, and take the Israel Independence Day Quiz.  Now (as of this week, actually), thanks to Google Street View, you can walk the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv without breaking a sweat.  If only they had Google Taste so I could sample some real Israeli hummus.  Check outIsrael's Top Ten Swimsuits, which even include the latest in fashions for those who cover up. Perfectly pluralistic.  See the Yom Ha'atzmaut Guide from the Hartman Institute, exploring the meaning of Israel "Israel at 64: What I Am Celebrating This Year."  Hear the beautiful song, "Yoram," sung by Yehuda Poliker at memorial ceremonies today in Jerusalem in memory of Israel's fallen soldiers. And read Sixty-four things I love about Israel by comedian Benjy Lovitt, and only four of them have to do with hummus.  Through all of this, you'll gain a glimpse as to why Israelis are among the happiest people on earth.  Through it all, they - we - are family.

In whatever way you can, make this day a day for reflection on the meaning of Israel in our lives.  The meaning and the miracle.  David Horovitz writes today in the Times of Israel, "In 1966, Paul McCartney was very whimsically planning ahead for a period "many years from now." Our existence demands that we very seriously do the same." 

Israel, we do still need you, we'll still feed you (and are nourished by you) and we'll be sending you this valentine, today, when you're 64! 

Hag Ha'atzmaut Sameach

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Lost Art - Leon Wieseltier

SO ISRAEL MUST be defended and Israel must be criticized. Almost nobody any longer practices the lost art of doing both at the same time, with similar emphasis, out of equally intense convictions, in a single breath. 

The Lost Art - Leon Wieseltier - The New Republic
Washington Diarist

Yom Ha’atzmaut Guide from Hartman Institute

Yom Ha’atzmaut Guide from Hartman Institute
19.04.2012, by Shalom Hartman Instituteshare this article:           

In these special articles, Shalom Hartman Institute explores the meaning of Israel's Independence Day and the many holidays surrounding it this time of year.
NEW: Special essays for Yom Ha'atzmaut 5772 (2012) from the iEngage Fellows
Donniel Hartman 
David Hartman 
Stuart Schoffman 
Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi 
Noam Zion
Rani Jaeger

Sunday, April 22, 2012

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Joshua Dampf on Shmini

Shabbat Shalom!

Those of you who know me know that I’m not exactly what you would call “shy.”  Some people have said that I’m even a bit over friendly at times.  I always have my own opinion as my mom will tell you.  And generally, I’m not afraid to stand out from the crowd.

             In my portion of Shmini, Aaron’s two sons, Nadav and Avihu, die suddenly and tragically even though they’re very young.   We don’t really know why they died. Rashi, a commentator from the Middle Ages, suggests that they died because they entered the sanctuary drunk.  Rabbi Eleazar in the Talmud says they were disrespectful to their elders. People tend to blame the victim. That’s never right, although Nadav and Avihu may have taken unwise risks.

          We don’t know exactly what happened. The Torah just says they brought a strange fire.  It’s unfair that they were killed just for daring to be different.  As one who often dares to be different, I can feel for them.

          I’ve been in four plays and love to act.  All of the characters I’ve played have been individualists.  Well almost all.  You see, in a production of “Alice and Wonderland”, I played Tweedle Dum.   The problem is that Tweedle Dum can’t do anything without Tweedle Dee.  In the play, I was never on the stage without Tweedle Dee.  Fortunately, the guy who played Tweedle Dee was a good friend.   In real life we looked nothing alike but in costume, we looked equally ridiculous. 

      My other roles have been more solo.  In “The Little Red Hen” I played the hen, and stood out in many ways, not the least of which being that…I was red…and little…and a hen.  Much later I played Peter in “Peter Pan” and a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz – and not just any munchkin – I represented the Lollypop Guild. 

      I’m interested in lots more than just drama and in every case, its important to be proud to be different.  As a Boy Scout, the idea is not so much to stand out but to stand up, for our country and its ideals.  As someone who loves animals, I can tell you that it’s important to love each one individually - that includes my turtle and 16 fish, including two beta fish, two goldfish, four cyclids, two leaf fish, one green terror, one cardinal fish, a scooter blenny, a chocolate starfish, a Hawaiian cleaner shrimp, and a yellow tailed blue damsel.  Each fish is special.  To look in my five aquariums is to see a vast variety of colors, shapes and sizes.  And except for the shrimp, the scooter blenny and, oh yes, two snails, all the fish have fins and scales, which means that, according to my portion, they are kosher!  Not that I’m about to eat them.  And now, I have a brand new puppy…Tova…who is pure goodness  just like her name!

    I also love kids.  My mitzvah project was participating in the mitzvah program at the Friendship Circle, where I have the chance to spend time with kids who face different challenges – and, just by my example, I’ll be teaching them, most of all, never to be afraid to stand out.

    I only wish Nadav and Avihu could have been given a second chance to do just that.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

70 Years After Auschwitz: Can the Holocaust Inspire a Positive Jewish Identity?

"Never Again" Is Not Enough

By Joshua Hammerman

                As we reach Yom Hashoah 5772, we've now passed the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, where the ‘Final Solution” was designed, and with it, we’ve reached a crucial milestone in the history of our remembering the Shoah.  In the Talmud, 70 years is considered a full life-span, as in the story of Honi, who planted a tree and then slept for 70 years to see that tree bear fruit.  We’ve now reached the point where very few survivors remain to tell the story first-hand.   The events are now history and the question before us how to keep the anguish immediate while a new layer of moss covers the bloodied, sacred ground.   We have, for lack of a better term, a Holocaust continuity problem.

                We also have, for lack of a better term, a Jewish continuity problem (we discarded the term years ago without managing to solve the problem).  Over the past few decades, Jews in this country have been mobilized to the task of ensuring that there will be Jews around in a few generations so that, among other things, the Holocaust will be remembered.  In a real sense the two continuity problems are intertwined.  The one should be aided by the resolution of the other.  That's how it appears in theory, and that's also what I believe.

                But that's not what everyone believes.  We are now in the midst of a serious tug of war within the Jewish community, one that has caused great anguish to survivors and their descendants, and one that has serious implications for the future.  Simply put, there are many American Jews who think that our preoccupation with Holocaust education has completely overshadowed other elements of Judaism that we must convey to the next generation.  As monuments for the Shoah spring up in many American cities, as vast museums have opened over the past two decades in Washington, Los Angeles and elsewhere, as Steven Spielberg has gathered testimony of 50,000 survivors for his high-tech oral history project, as award winning films and scholarly works about the Holocaust continue to dominate our American Jewish agenda, and as enemies at home and abroad continue to deny that the Holocaust ever happened, do we risk losing everything else in the process?  There is no doubt that Holocaust education has been a smashing success when compared other aspects of Jewish education; and that has led some to question our communal priorities.

                In the words of Ruth Wisse, a professor of Jewish literature, "If there were to be museums for Jewish civilization, I would have no problem, but to have major Jewish museums consecrated to the destruction of Jewry seems to me exceedingly perverse.  What does it communicate to American Jews?  What person of dignity, what person of noble Jewish spirit, what person who believes in the eternity of Israel, wants to be presented to his fellow Americans primarily, if not exclusively, through the prism of the destruction of a third of his people?"         

                Renowned sociologist Jack Wertheimer adds, "The focus is on the destruction of Jews.  There's a lot more American Jewry can learn from European Jewry prior to the Holocaust than from the destruction of Jews.  I don't know what of a positive nature can be learned from all that.”  And Jewish leader Malcolm Hoenlein states, "We have to give young Jews positive experiences, not just tsuris.  We have to share with them the excitement, the joy."             

This is an issue that hits the most sensitive of nerves, especially among survivors, who have dedicated their lives to nothing less than the goal of keeping the memory alive, of not letting the Shoah become a footnote of Jewish history.  For these are the statements of committed Jews, some of our brightest scholars and greatest leaders.  In a world of limited funds the debate it is bound to rage, and it tends to divide along generational lines, only increasing the pain of those who have suffered the most, the ones who have made the greatest sacrifices, who have dedicated their lives to bearing witness.

                Jacob Neusner, the renowned historian, explains that there are now two Judaisms for the American Jew -- yes there are endless varieties, but basically two strains, which are, on the surface, irreconcilable.  One the one hand, there is the Judaism of Sinai, and on the other, the Judaism of Holocaust and Redemption.  As Neusner describes it, the Judaism of Sinai, with its Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, slaves in Egypt, Moses on the mountain, sanctification in the here and now and salvation at the end of time, flourishes alongside the Judaism of Holocaust and Redemption, of Auschwitz and Israel.  The Judaism of Sinai plumbs the depths of our being human in God's image, and the other, as he puts it, reaches into that sore surface of Jewish life.  One speaks of a universal redemption with the Jewish people being agents and catalysts, the other speaks of the Jewish people being redeemed from the clutches of the outside world.  One world view is based on a God who hears us and saves us from Egyptian bondage, the other is based on a silent God, who either chose not to help us or was incapable of doing so.  It is hard to reconcile the two.  But that is exactly what we must do.

                Let's begin that process by saying clearly that any Judaism to emerge out of this era of total destruction must place the Holocaust experience directly at its core, or it will not be authentic; it will fail to speak to our need to confront this black hole in our history.  But just as it cannot ignore or deny the abyss, it must also speak to our religious need to affirm joy, beauty, renewed life and at least the possibility of a responsive divinity, or it will not survive.

                We've got to find a way to bring our children to the museum in Washington, and they all must go there, and take them out of it and dance a hora on the National Mall - not defiantly, not out of spite, not to deny Hitler an posthumous triumph, but because they love being a Jew, for all the positive reasons, as well as the responsibility to bear witness.  Let's make the task even more difficult:  Our goal should be nothing less than for the next generation to see bearing witness as not a burden, but a privilege; an honor, and yet another source of pride in who they are.

                That will not be easy.  But I believe it can be done.  I believe, now that we are 70 years beyond the initial shock, that the Holocaust can motivate our children to a positive Jewish identity, not one based on shame, on hatred, on revenge and on despair.  And the Holocaust can therefore be a prime positive factor in Jewish continuity.

                How can one not burst with pride at the poetry composed by those living in the midst of hell, at their dignity, at the small deeds of heroism, the scraps of food shared, the secret Seders, the fact that people could actually accomplish the most human things in the most inhuman conditions, like falling in love, and even giving birth.  What makes Anne Frank so eternally appealing is her very ordinariness, her capacity to remain a child in the most sinister of conditions.  How can this not be but a source of great pride?

                That very heroism is what motivates us to appreciate the gift of our lives, and that reverence for life is at the foundation of the covenant of Sinai. 

                Two years ago I had the honor of being on the March of the Living.  The March has become one of  the most successful instruments in instilling Jewish identity in our youth, as thousands march through the streets of Poland, through the gates of  Auschwitz on Yom Hashoah, and ultimately, on to Israel to celebrate Independence day in Jerusalem.  It is the literal reenacting of the route from darkness to light, much as we do at our Seders, regarding the original Exodus. 

                As exciting as this is for the participants, and as successful as it is, we must ask ourselves what is the message that these students bring home.  We know what message we bring from the Seder, for it is the basic message of the Judaism of Sinai:  Love the stranger, for we were slaves in the land of Egypt.  It is a message of outreach and love.  Yes, there is vengeance and hate in the Haggadah too, but that is not the primary thrust, otherwise it wouldn't have lasted all these years.

                And what is the message that comes from March of the Living?  "Am Yisrael chai!"  Now that's very reassuring to us, and seems to bode well for continuity to see teens so defiant, so assured, with heads bowed and fists raised.  But if the message is survival for its own sake, it is not a survival that is well-rooted.  Ultimately, that message won't be enough, unless it is accompanied by the joyous refrain, "Shiru l'Adonai shir hadash," "Sing unto the Lord a New Song."

                And that is why "Never again" is also not enough.  And that is why I do not recommend March of the Living without a complementary experience of that reflects the other dimensions of Judaism, whether it be through Torah study or an extended teen tour of Israel or other youth involvement.  The Holocaust can be a spark of Jewish identity and even Jewish pride, but it is not enough to ensure another generation of Jews.

                When I see the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been raised for scores of Holocaust memorials and research centers in America, it doesn't bother me at all.  The memory must remain fresh.  The world needs to know; our children need to know and take pride in their heritage, even as regarding Auschwitz.

                But there must be a matching grant. The same amount of money must be when poured into Jewish education, synagogues and day schools, into making affiliation affordable for every young family, and into programs that emphasize joy rather than victimization.  It should not and cannot be one or the other; it must be one and the other.

                And while we painstakingly record and teach of our tragic past, we must put down vigorously any effort to portray Jews as victims in the present.  All the old stereotypes must be fought.  If we spent an eighth of the resources that we spend on combating anti-Semitism from the outside to fight self hatred from within, the Jewish future would be bright indeed.

                It is not Auschwitz that keeps Jews from wanting to remain Jewish, it's the fact that young Jews think of other Jews as shallow and materialistic.   When they run away from their heritage, it's not the Holocaust they're running from, it's the image of Jews that our society presents.  It's not just that we haven't givien them enough of the joy and the enrichment of Torah, it's that we've given them too much of our own neuroses, our guilt, our anger, our own shallowness.  It is not the Nazis who threaten Jewish continuity; the enemy is us.  We've got to get out of our collective mood of self-deprecation, and that has less to do with Auschwitz than with our previously uncertain status on the fringes of American society.

                Auschwitz will reside at the core of the next generation's Judaism, but we must understand this -- the Holocaust will be reinterpreted.  The facts will remain the same, they must, but the lessons will change.  Just as the exodus from Egypt must be reinterpreted "b'chol dor va dor" (in every generation) so will the Shoah.  It is hard to imagine discussing these events with fewer tears, but they will.  It is hard to imagine the bitterness dissipating, but it will.  It is hard to imagine anyone coming to reaffirm the joy of Judaism through these darkened binoculars, but they will.

                At some point, in a generation or two, the Judaism of Sinai and the Judaism of Auschwitz will merge, and the result will be a new Judaism that we cannot yet imagine.  Our perceptions of God will likely be transformed in the process.  As will Passover, Yom Kippur and Kashrut; as will Jewish peoplehood and Tzedakkah, as will Israel and our notion of social action.

                It is up to us to give our children all the tools that they will need to do the job, not to worry that they will blow it, even if they can't possibly feel our pain, the way we feel it.   And when the tears cease to fall, we can't shock them artificially; we can only allow the magnificent monuments, museums and collected survivor testimony speak for themselves.  We've got to let them work it out with God for themselves.

                Just as the Torah instructs us to "proclaim liberty throughout the land" during the year of jubilee, as we pass that 70 year milestone separating us from the Shoah, it is now time to proclaim joy, proclaim life, and lay claim to the future.  If you are a Jew, it is O.K. to smile again, it is O.K. to celebrate life; but it is not O.K. to forget.  We must enable our descendants to do what Elie Wiesel says he has spent his entire adult life trying to do: turn "No" into "Yes."

                Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "There are three ways in which we respond to sorrow.  On the first level we cry; on the second level, we are silent; on the highest level, we take sorrow and turn it into song."

                Jewish peoplehood will not be assured until our great grandchildren begin to take the darkness of the Shoah, and turn it into a song.  That would be the most fitting memorial to our martyrs and a guarantee that their precious memory will be preserved.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shabbat-O-Gram April 13

Shabbat Shalom and a Sweet Pesach
  • As we head into the final two days of Pasech and to Yom Hashoah next week, a reminder that our office will be closed on Friday for the 7th day, but our sanctuary will be very much open for business. 
  • Services at 9:30 on Friday and Sat. mornings and in the lobby at 7:30 on Friday night.  Yizkor prayers will be recited on Shabbat, the 8th day.
  • On Shabbat morning, we'll also read from Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs (for some background, see my posting, Love, Passover, Spring and the Song of Songs) and just before Yizkor, I'll share reflections on the significant news coming out of Hartford late last night.  Connecticut is poised to become the 17th state to repeal the death penalty.  You might recall that over the past few months we've devoted time toward education and advocacy on this matter.  You can read coverage of the repeal here.  Taking nothing away from the horrible suffering of victims and their families, this is very heartening news.  Nationally, since 1973, 138 prisoners sentenced to death later have been exonerated. Now we can be assured that our state will not be complicit to any additional needless murders.
  • End of Passover?  About 8:15 Sat. night.  But who really needs to go back to regular food?  Really.  And this is one year where our friends in Israel will have to wait an extra day and hold off on that P.P.P. (Post Pesach Pizza) until after Shabbat.  Sorry, guys!  Meanwhile, to wile away those final hours of the festival, try out these amusing Pesach Haikus.
  • The post-Pesach period has become a very busy one on the Jewish calendar.  Next week is Yom Hashoah.  The community-wide commemoration should be especially meaningful this year, with the inclusion of a children's choir that Cantor Mordecai has been instrumental in creating.  It's next Thursday at 7 PM at Temple Sinai.  We'll also have several TBE teens among the thousands gathering at Auschwitz next week for the March of the Living.  I regret that I'll not be able to join them this year, but I'll help send off our Kulanu group this Sunday.  I wish them a safe and memorable journey. 
  • One of our eighth graders, Andrew Young, recently was awarded a History Day prize for a website he created describing the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.   It's very impressive - he interviewed several survivors.  See Andrew's site by cutting and pasting into your browser.

In the spirit of Yom Hashoah, I reprint this classic statement of post-Holocaust philosophy, "The Commanding Voice of Auschwitz," written by Emil Fackenheim:
What does the Voice of Auschwitz command?
Jews are forbidden to hand Hitler posthumous victories. They are commanded to survive as Jews, lest the Jewish people perish. They are commanded to remember the victims of Auschwitz lest their memory perish. They are forbidden to despair of man and his world, and to escape into either cynicism or otherworldliness, lest they cooperate in delivering the world over to the forces of Auschwitz. Finally, they are forbidden to despair of the God of Israel, lest Judaism perish. A secularist Jew cannot make himself believe by a mere act of will, nor can he be commanded to do so....And a religious Jew who has stayed with his God may be forced into new, possibly revolutionary relationships with Him. One possibility, however, is wholly unthinkable. A Jew may not respond to Hitler's attempt to destroy Judaism by himself cooperating in its destruction. In ancient times, the unthinkable Jewish sin was idolatry. Today, it is to respond to Hitler by doing his work.

          For a Jew hearing the commanding Voice of Auschwitz the duty to remember and to tell the tale is not negotiable. It is holy. The religious Jew still possesses this word. The secularist Jew is commanded to restore it. A secular holiness, as it were, has forced itself into his vocabulary...

          Jews after Auschwitz represent all humanity when they affirm their Jewishness and deny the Nazi denial... The commanding Voice of Auschwitz singles Jews out; Jewish survival is a commandment which brooks no compromise. It was this Voice which was heard by the Jews of Israel in May and June 1967 when they refused to lie down and be slaughtered...

          For after Auschwitz, Jewish life is more sacred than Jewish death, were it even for the sanctification of the divine Name. The left-wing secularist Israeli journalist Amos Kenan writes: "After the death camps, we are left only one supreme value: existence."

By the Jewish philosopher Emil Fackenheim, written in 1968:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pesach Haikus

Thanks to my colleague Rabbi Menachem Creditor for sending along these Pesach Haikus, submitted on Facebook by those responding to his challenge: 10 points to the best Jewish Haiku on the irrational Pesach feeling of an imaginary food shortage.

First Prize (10 Pesach Points):

A Pesach highlight:
My mom’s long-lost plum brisket
Somewhere, she’s kvelling
Alix Wall

Second Place (5 Pesach Points):

Seder leftovers
could feed all homeless a week
still fill our fridges
Ruth Petersen Shorer

Lots of Other Awesome Entries:

Seen through tears and glass,
Cafe Flore's forbidden cake.
Dodi kvar lo li?
Rabbi David Dunn Bauer

We have lots of food
But we need to feel deprived
Pass the matzah brei.
Debbie Bamberger

Parsley tastes okay
Charoset is pretty good
But bagels, sublime.
Debbie Bamberger

I shopped for a month
To eat for eight days?! Now I’m
Not even hungry.
Adam Hoffstetter

hungry abundance 
chol hamoed pesach see
food but no chametz
Kayla Garelick

What if we run out
Of pesachdich cheese? Or worse,
If we have leftovers?
Jo-Ellen Pozner Zeitlin

If I had one brick
for every matzo, I could
build a city block.
Michelle Tremaine

I used to hunger
Now I eat much kitnyot
Crazy ashkenazim!
Simon Firestone

b'khol dor va dor
oblige yourself to hunger
despite a full fridge
Sarit Horwitz

twelve guests, two briskets; 
should I make the chicken too?; 
I'll make the bird too.
Beth Zygielbaum

For a vegan Jew
This isn't even hard -- it's
ha! -- a piece of cake.
Pauline Yearwood

It's very trendy,
The latest food fad online --
Eight gluten-free days.
Pauline Yearwood

why do i hunger
for lack of leaven when i
don't even eat gluten?
Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer

On Passover Jews
are a stiff-necked, stiff egg white
stiff-boweled people
Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer

Gefilte fish swims
Away from the horseradish
I help them make peace 
Laynie Tzena

My friend brought me cake
Dark chocolate and Pesadich
I always liked her
Laynie Tzena

He said we could have
His chicken, now that he's gone
To join the vegans
Laynie Tzena

Why didn't I block
Bertucci's ads from Facebook
Now I crave pasta
Debra Hirsch Corman

Been through the pantry
So full of food-like junk, yet
There's nothing to eat
Yosef Goldman

Entering freedom
burns many a calorie
(so I tell myself)
Yosef Goldman

ShopRite Pesach Aisle
Just in case you get stuck in
Pesach for a month.
Gella Solomon

Too much matzah blech
No real food in sight for days
The indigestion
Robin Haber Freyberg

Come to Israel
where everything is kosher,
oh no, kitniyot!
Arie Hasit

No shortage for me
I eat Pesach food all year!
Quinoa, kale, fish, fruit
Jordan Namerow

Out without a snack
Forgot to prepare something
Buying a banana
Brian Schachter-Brooks

Let all those hungry
Enter and eat the leftovers 
But not the brisket
Falynn Schmidt

No rolls or pasta,
Seven days of nothing but,
Flat, dry, dusty, crumbs.
Marc Gottlieb

potato starch box
languishes in the pantry
"just in case," she says
Hope Levav

No bread? I will starve!
Buy, lest I run out of food...
Siege mentality!
Benjamin Epstein

One G-d, two tablets,
Three matzot, four cups, four sons,
Five more days to go.
Rabbi Rob Scheinberg

ShopRite Manager:
Please don't clear the Pesach shelf
until Thursday night.
Rabbi Rob Scheinberg

Matzah shelf was bare
At Berkeley Bowl this morning
It’s only day three
Alix Wall

Fourth day of Pesach
fourth day of baseball; Phillies
losing. Vey iz Mir.
Ethel Goldberg

Going on a trip
During Chol HaMoed time
Packing up kitchen
Lisa Schachter-Brooks

Crack! The heavy feast
Breaks the table leg - or just
The Afikomen?
Kevi Equality

molly stone's is closed
there is plenty of matzah
i am sick of eggs...
Shosh Anderson

Belly aches badly
Plenty of stinky gasses
Nothing coming out!
Brad Walter

Not by bread alone
Shall we live. There is matzah.
And that's about all.
Sheyna Galyan

Where's the potatoes?
I said, WHERE's the potatoes??
Did you eat them all???????????!
Julie Seltzer

Fifteen for Seder
Are seven kugels enough
Must make more tonight
Andrea Lavender

Matzoh: baked, boiled, fried,
Afflicted with food we cry,
There's nothing to eat!
Varda Epstein

At first, a nice crunch:
Then it seems awfully plain.
Day Five: Please, No More!
Rabbi Ruth Adar

In the desert we 
ate manna. Now we cook for 
days, to remember.
Suzi Brozman

empty space near matzah
where my chocolate usually lives
no craving, just free
Reba Connell

Like a tzunami
Terrifying, engulfing
Emptiness threatens.
Toby Klein Greenwald

Eleven dozen eggs
(Chametz chicken feed, can't buy
Shifra Pride Raffel

I am in New York.
Thirty-plus kosher places
Are open Pesach.
Joshua Diamant

Facebook jealousy
Gnaws my matza-filled guts as
Josh D. eats take-out.
Shifra Pride Raffel

Shifra, I haven't.
But if I wanted to eat
Out, well then I could.
Joshua Diamant

Not enough matzah
My insides are screaming MORE
Must eat tasteless food
Jennifer Massie

Like to eat matzah
NOT! It fills me up too much
I prefer salads
Jennifer Massie

I want kitniot
Why follow this absurd rule
For so many years?
Aliza Amy Olenick Segal

keeping pesach rules 
makes keeping kosher year round 
easy as pizza
Barbara Solomon-Speregen

Matzah crumbs underfoot
Remind us we're on a trek
to Torah itself
Barbara Solomon-Speregen

Eighteen rows of holes 
I slowly, slowly nibble 
one more matza sheet.
Marisa Elana James

So it costs a lot...
KP tequilla - hooray!
Guac, matzah - olé!
Rabbi Gail Labovitz

I look in the fridge. 
Something jump out and feed me! 
I get no response...
Jessica Senders Weinberg