Saying something Jewish in 17 syllables

As a writer, I’m always looking for little bursts of inspiration: poetry, flash fiction, or prompts are often where I find small but mighty moments of insight. One of my favorite tiny powerhouses is haiku, the Japanese poetry style wherein just seventeen syllables, in three tight lines of five, seven, and five syllables, can conjure a whole world of emotions.

Traditionally evoking images of the natural world, haiku can be about anything… so here are a few Jewish-themed haiku I wrote when I had something big to say in a small space (a sentiment that feels inherently Jewish in and of itself).


Sharp sweet spicy scent

sizzle of candle in wine

a new week begins.


Those guttural sounds

somehow went from hard to soft

aided by bagels.


He’s disappointed:

“I heard that Jews were funny.”

Guess my joke fell flat.

I have these nightmares

that are not truly my own

but also… they are.

You want to know more?

Ask me gently; I will be

your first Jewish friend. 

All poems by Beth Kander, all rights retained by author. Included in this blog with permission.

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