Bad Poetry Contest Winners 2009

The best of the worst.


In July 2009, MyJewishLearning launched its first Bad Poetry Contest, with the explicitly stated goal of finding the worst Jewish poem ever. A month later, on August 18 — also known as Bad Poetry Day — the winners were announced and published.

bad poetryWe received more than 200 submissions ranging from epics to haiku, mp3 songs to handwritten love letters, poems so good they could make you cry to…well, poems so bad they could make you cry. Our first-place winner received an iPod stacked with poetry, as well as a JDub Records package and a rubber chicken. The second-place finalist received books from Jewish Publication Society and a set of bongo drums, and the third-place finalist received a copy of Haikus for Jews. All entries were read blind, with no names attached.

By Yonah Lavery
First Place

I first saw you, baby, in Mea Sharim.

Your lovely eyes downcast, your shtreimel agleam,

Your luscious lips let loose a horrible scream

And you pointed at me. I thought it was a dream,

And was all in a tizz when you threw the first stone,

Since this loving act prompted me to atone

For my bared lower shins, not okay in this zone.

You broke my heart, baby, and my collar bone.

You shouted “Zonah!” and I reached my nirvana.

Oh beautiful creature, sweeter than Tropicana,

Your judgment so harsh, your skin smooth as banana,

The comeliest student of Meir Kahane!

The Maven
By Amy Oseroff and Miriam Wildeman
Second Place

Once inside a Succah dreary,

While I pondered Jewish theory,

Seeking answers to my query,

Responsa tomes strewn ’round the flooring,

While I studied, deeply poring,

Oy gevalt! in came my mother,

Seeking this and nothing more,

“Darling, I need halvah from the store.”

Sighed my mother from the door,

“Only this, and nothing more.”

Nothing more? “Oh mother never,

Never was your list so brief.

Are you well? Have you a fever?

You don’t need schmaltz? Or corned beef either?”

Sighed my mother from the door,

”Only this, and nothing more.”

So I schlepped off to the store, buying halvah, nothing more,

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