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Poems for the 8 nights of Hanukah

December 15, 2011

Tags: Hanukah, URJ Biennial, poetry, Sinai poem, storytelling, Jews and Christmas, enough, commercialism, freedom, redemption, empowerment

8 faces of Hanukah

I’ve just spent 28 hours at the URJ Biennial in Washington DC, offering three sessions today – Cartography of the Heart: A Poetry Beit Midrash Workshop; then, Holy Moments Every Day: A Poetry Reading and Conversation; and finally, a poetry reading on the URJ Bookstore stage. The last of the three sessions I thought I’d post here for the enjoyment of a wider online audience.

The program is below – feel free to use with your family, friends, synagogue, in whatever context you are celebrating the holiday this year.

INTRO – So many of my poems offer an opening for introspection and conversation. This year I’ve selected eight poems connected to Hanukah in rather surprising ways. Read each poem which appears in either A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition (ASL) or in Finding Words (FW) – then consider the “frame” I’m suggesting for reflecting on them in the light of the Hanukah candles. Enjoy!

1st night - We All Stood Together – ASL p. 245 – Hanukah is a time for sharing stories – share a story of how you’ve worked, how you’re working, to bring freedom and equality for women.

2nd night – December 25 – FW p. 80 – Children are hungry for stories. As a child who knew no Jewish stories, I found Christmas alluring. Tell a favorite compelling Jewish story tonight – a Hanukah story, perhaps a Biblical story, a story of Israel’s founding, or a midrash, or the tale of a contemporary master. While you’re at it, check out PJ Library.
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