The Deronda Review

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Note:  the first of the poems below was sent out to our email list with a request for other poem/prayers for Israel, and the responses that follow were received.  We will post further responses as we receive them. -- EC




In lands not ours, at morning comes your night

With whistling shells and clamorous sirens’ blare.

We listen through our days and strain in prayer

Sending what strength we have to make more tight

The dual screen of merit and of might,

Of man's precaution and G-d's loving care --

Must not our wills, conjoined, give off a flare

To put the plague of hate to final flight?


If you have thought to spare, pray for us too,

Pray for each spark of spirit scattered far

And yet no less at risk, no less at war,

And in our separate strife sustained by you --

May G-d send us the surge that could unite

Against this darkness all our scattered light!

                                              Esther Cameron


This Morning

Michael E. Stone


This morning, rockets from Gaza ,

brought bombs back to Gaza ,

and more rockets back to Beer-Sheba.


The air here is washed clean by rain,

And fresh with autumn cool,

The dawn sun reddens the mountain tops,

And the flowers, innocent of human folly,

Shine with joy as their roots

Luxuriate in the black, moist soil.


There, sirens and shrapnel.




Lifting of the Fog        


By Shoshanah Weiss


As Toldot entered we witnessed the emerging of the progenitors of Esau.

His hands shake us into fits.

We awaken from our deep slumber.

Rockets attack and wailing is heard throughout Israel.

Our machzorim have been put away on the bookshelves.

But, the shofar on high bids us to repent once more.

Avinu Malkeinu prayers are heard at the Kotel.

As the Philistine nation rears its bloody head from the borders of Aza again.

Where are our Shoftim and Shotrim?

Who can protect us from harm’s way.

We are not safe anywhere in the world.

Protest erupts against the Jews worldwide.


Tensions flaring

The hearts of the Klal are leaping from fear to fear.

Dreading more sleepless nights

The sirens are blaring through darkness and fog.

Each morning I am bleary eyed.

I am addicted to the news reports each hour.


As I stand from afar, my soul seeks temporary relief from the waves of Lake Michigan.

Standing at the beach, I can perceive the grandeur of G-d again.

Beaches are empty now, with dried out weeds and brown leaves scattered along the shore.

Being at the water helps me to reconfigure my thinking.


Man is a player on the stage of the world.

His vision is cloudy and murky.

Like a cataract over the eye.

Isaac became blind.

Jacob gains the birthright through his father’s confusion.

Esau’s cries are heard above Jacobs.


May my tears pierce through the fog cover of heaven.

Let our vision become cleared to herald the ram’s horn of Elijah the prophet.

Lift us up so we can have a clearing and usher in the peace.

It is mincha time.

I watch the birds fly in the sky near the horizon

My prayers become invigorated, powerful, more intense and renewed.

Bowing my head I give my burden over to heaven’s divine plan.




From Chaim Scheff


For mature/self-actualizing/sentient beings, there are only two substantially identical states of instant awareness; according to a G?D orientation and according to a Nature?Life orientation.    Traditionally, upon awakening, at the first instant when meta-consciousness (The Neshama) kicks in, even before eyes open and the body begins the turn from horizontal to vertical, the mind acknowledges that life has been restored for another day and therewith that G?D seems to have great faith in this individual (EhMooNaSeCHA - Your Faith/Belief - in me!  - in me?); so the individual takes it as a day of opportunity to repay G?D for that faithfulness.    For those of the Nature?Life perspective, appreciating awakening is a greater-than-cosmic improbability that all of the biological life-systems' chemical-reactions continue-to-combine to stay any obvious anti-life thermodynamic entropy-seeking cytoplasm-events - which IS mathematically equivalent to winning the impossible-odds lottery for another day-in-succession; deserving a day-long celebration of sharing thanks-for-life – as is customary for all who winthe big super-lottery prize.    Behold, we all join in the spirit of renewed Joy-in-Life; and may G?D, Nature?Life, and Awareness-Energy continue to converge in each of us for the emanation of affirmations!




From Hayim Abrahamson:



We can make peace within ourselves

as well as with others… perhaps.

Yet, as long as some claim might is right

it will be hard to find a middle ground.


Many organizations stake peace rooms

making it a political slogan to hate.

Europeans pay good money for pictures

of every settlement’s home: Not for peace!


The State Department pushes its leanings

towards one side more than the other: Oy vey!

With friends like this and enemies like that

Israel’s interests are taxed beyond capacity.


This group specializes in finding what’s illegal

and it just happens that it is exclusively Jewish.

Isn’t it written somewhere not to be Anti-Semite?

My Jewish antennae feel too many of them out there.


Tell me, has your system worked so far?

Arabs got a number of cities and Jews were killed.

Money transfers galore to the Palestinians

and still Kasam missiles in Ashdod and Ashkelon …


The leading countries should consider the Jews

rather than continuing their support for empty leaders.

We could use some empathy and more balanced politics,

indeed! You cry for the right of return and what of the Jews?


Yet all may be in vain: There is money in offices and jobs

and it is good business to bother the settlers. What a shame!

Someday real history will be written, let us hope more truthful

of the mismanagement of peace: Remember, Israel will live!


*Inspired by a non-profit organization’s yearly meeting.




90 Seconds

By Mindy Aber Barad


From the moment I slice onions into hot oil -

 the glob of shampoo lands on my hair -

 I dust the lid of the antique tea pot -

I have 90 seconds

To hear that wail

Begin to count down

And slowly, deliberately


To free myself

From my sun-lit rooms

And descend

Into the dark of safety






From Theone:



                                                   The Other Side of the Hill©


“Shooting again”

“Bombs again”


“Counter-revolution”                                                     (i do not here)






(i  hear only still)



(they’re not my children

 so why should i worry?)




“Naked Pain!”


 i don’t want to here

 that news again)


(besides, its not “new,”

 besides, itsnotmeitsyou.)



What a lovely day for a war—

sun and blood and gallop and snort

(better inyourgardennotmine)    


Drop your bomb then run

to your shelter,

Fly with the eagle to some greener pasture

above the moan and stench

thrust and spear

of death…




 O, that war won’t reacho me hear

 It will stay forever

 over their--

 a private hell

 that some will write about  from the

 nightmare of their daze

                                                                         not mine:



             ‘Cause to me war's                                                                  a forgone conclusion

a cowards’ thrill                       

 and It will all ways stay on

 the other side (?)

                                                                                     of the hill

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Theone , Jerusalem



Old Young Orphans©



Tenderly she rocks the babe

                her brother off to sleep

And soothes the sighs and tiny hurts

                with promises she keeps.


Too young to ‘ware the long black dress and pale

        and cloak of mourning,

Too young to be


While their day is just a-borning.


Solemn ‘neath the heavens,

Wise beyond their fyears,

In their merit

        mists the rainbow

        but who will dry their tears?







                                                    G-d’s  Jungle

                                    (with humble thanks to the Israel Air Forces)©




There is a wild animal

            in the sky

So high I cannot see;

Only hear a mile-high roaaar

            as it gallops by;



Louder and louder and another and another--

A heavenly stampeeede--

offers no excuse

with flared nostril  

thundering hoof




 --Stallion and tiger

 G-d has sent

 to protect

 from missile blast and carrion crow

 simple people  huddled below--




Trained for war

 they keep the peace,

 and i give thanks

 as they swift by

 on mission

 in silver and jet


 from G-d’s jungle.









  From Don Kristt:



An Agreement


Forced to agree

Once again

Forced to give up

What clearly we see

As a little bit

Of what we mean to be free.

We have victory at hand,

We have begun to succeed.

The world is unhappy,

With success of Israel's seed.


It starts in the Torah

With AviMelech,

Melech Plishtim

Who bids Avraham,

-- Blessed by God,

Subject of Man's esteem --

To take an oath,

Make a formal Heskim

But my wells, says Avraham

Are problematic.

Not to worry,

AviMelech assures,

Lets us swear,

be pragmatic.


Then Yitzchak is on the scene,

Wealthy, successful

Marked by blessing,

Lets contain him

Say the Plishtim again

An oath is needed

As in the past

And no need to abide it

It will not last.


And in Parshat V'Yaitzai, today

This theme continues,

 Unfolding in the very same way

As the Jews are successful,

The Aramite is dismayed

Lavan wants an oath

To keep them at bay.

For Yaakov,

To keep Aram away.


An empty oath

As always

Nullified by Bilaam

The prophet from Aram

Who brings imprecations

To cast at our Am.


Will we not see this truth?

Will we not see,

Acceptance by the nations,

As vaporous imaginations,

That cannot be.

Like a gossamer dream,

Surely, not what they seem.


It was then so,

So it is now.


CITY BIRD                by Shira Twersky-Cassel


City bird, you wake with the light rail

bounding out of scattered nests of occasional twigs and twine

set in acacia and pistachio trees and copper piping of building sites

that await morning teams of plumbers and construction workers.


After early splash in rainwater pails amid communal chatter,

- there is order in your casual democracy, no jumping the line -

flurries of dissention, a chorus of "chissick ! chissick !

will set the record straight.


Then it's off to cheerful seed scavenging in fragrant gardens

of geranium and lavender, home-grown herbal and parsley plots,

or wild-growing snapdragons in unkept fields


With visits to a neglected dog-bowl or left-over cat delicacy

on potted verandas, sturdy bills gift window boxes

with Jerusalem Pine tznobar seeds

that will mature to later defy gravity.


But today, sweet vocabulary of chirps and cheeps

is silenced by weeping siren moan, that cries,

City-Bird take cover, for death walks

the happy streets.

Today, life-blood scavengers  

crouch at the doorway.



A paraphrase from the Book of Nehemia who together with Ezra

reestablished the Kingdom of Judea and built the Second Temple.

Shira Twersky-Cassel 


And it came to pass towards the End of Days

that Yerushalayim no longer lay waste, as we had come

and built up the walls, we children who went up

out of exile from all the places where we did return.


And when the nations heard that the walls of Yerushalayim

were being repaired they were very angry and they conspired

all of them together to come and fight and they were upon us.


Therefore I stationed the people with their swords, their bows

and spears and I said, - Be not afraid, remember the Lord

who is great and fights for your brethren, your sons,

your daughters, your wives and your houses.


In whatever place you hear the Shofar, rally to us there

for our God shall not forsake His people.


And the Pillar of Cloud will not depart by day

nor the Column of Fire by night.




Two more of mine:


Dear G-d,

please show me one

thing I can do, word I

can say, to anyone, that might

help us






Somewhere far away

a gigantic crystal leans

upon a mountaintop.


From it emanate

instructions, pulsing outward

in wave upon wave.


Those who receive them

come together, synchronize

watches, pick their leaders.


They pool their info,

receive their assignments, then

scatter to do them.


At regular times

they reconvene, compare notes,

reassess, reassign.


All this to the pulse

of that distant crystal becoming

their breath, their song.





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