Haikus for Jews

Jewish self-deprecation, in disciplined verse.

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The haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that each contains three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. In the following, the author uses that strict format to poke some fun at Jewish stereotypes, including that of the overbearing Jewish mother, which is always-good for a laugh. Reprinted with permission of the author from Haikus for Jews: For You, a Little Wisdom (Harmony Books).

Seven-foot Jews in
the NBA slam-dunking--
my alarm clock rings.

Testing the warm milk
on her wrist, she beams--nice, but
her son is forty.

Monet? Van Gogh? Feh.
Pissarro--a mensch! Did you
know he was Jewish?

After the youngest
recites the Four Questions, the
fifth--when do we eat?

No egg and no cream,
just syrup, seltzer, and milk--
Zen of the egg cream.

Yom Kippur--forgive
me, God, for the Mercedes
and all the lobsters.

David M. Bader is the author of such works as Haikus for Jews: For You a Little Wisdom, Zen Judaism: For You a Little Enlightenmen and Haiku U.: From Aristotle to Zola, Great Books in 17 Syllables. He also wrote How to Be an Extremely Reform Jew and has contributed to the Mirth of a Nation humor anthologies. He lives and writes in New York City.