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A Hanukkah Poem

Giorgione’s “Judith”

 

Rightful Places (A Poem for Hanukkah 5777/2016)

By Erika Dreifus

When, today, a woman’s right
to wear a prayer shawl
or read from the Torah
or blow a shofar at the Kotel
is actually the focus of a bill submitted to the Knesset,
who can be surprised
that Judith’s story
is excluded from the Tanakh?

For if Judith—
brave,
articulate,
smart,
powerful,
pious,
latter-day
Hanukkah heroine

Judith—
had been granted admission
to those holy pages,
how on earth,
all these centuries later,
could anyone possibly justify
denying her daughters
our own rightful place?

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4 Responses »

  1. Just want to say that I love this poem, and read it in shul from the Bimah yesterday, just before I chanted the Haftorah for the Shabbat of Chanukah (it’s the same one as for Beha’lotekha, and begins “Roni v’simchi bat tzion…”). Got great feedback from a number of women in the congregation. Thank you!

    Laura Yaros
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    member of Congregation Dorshei Emet – The Reconstructionist Synagogue of Montreal

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