Jewish Poems and Other Writings

Poems and prose I never thought I would write, connected with a religion I was born in to and never thought I would become not only interested in but fanatical about–although recently I think I hope I am more passionate than fanatical. However, my Jewish interests continue to develop in unexpected directions, from German and Austrian writers like Stefan Zweig and Lion Feuchtwanger to planned trips to Brazil, to try to find the grave of a great-uncle, and to Portugal, to learn about Portuguese Jews.

Coiling the Serpent–an a-to-z miscellany of poetry/prose.

Here I Seek You: Jewish Poems for Shabbat, Holy Days, and Everydays–a print collection of liturgical poems that can accompany the prayer service or be read or recited on their own.

Here I Seek You: Jewish Poems for Shabbat, Holy Days, and Everydaysa .pdf version of the printed book published in 2016 showing the poems in the context of the prayers.

A Workshop on Tishah b’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish year, and its special
poetry, called kinot (singular, kinah). Click here for a sample kinah (plural, kinot).

www.medievalhebrewpoetry.org–my web site containing translations of poetry by different translators, “imaginessays” on the writers, photographs, a bibliography, links, and other information. Following is a link to the just the imaginessays–
essays that take liberties!

Medieval Hebrew Poets–Essays + Conversation–writings about Abraham Ibn Ezra, Yehudah Halevi, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Moses Ibn Ezra, and Samuel Hanagid.

The Forlorn Young Woman–a recently discovered fragment of the Zohar, the Book of Radiance.

The Forlorn Young Woman: Analysis, Interpretation, and Commentary–extensive explication of the recently discovered fragment of the Zohar, the Book of Radiance.

The Orchard: The Zohar on Talmud Tractate Hagigah 14b. A newly discovered and edited chapter of the Zohar (the Book of Radiance, or Splendor) that comments on the famous and somewhat enigmatic passage in the Babylonian Talmud in which four rabbis ascend to Paradise.

The Secret of the Work of Creation–another recently discovered fragment of the Zohar, the Book of Radiance, along with analysis, interpretation, and commentary.

The Wonderful Cholent: A Story of Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik of Volozhin–
A Pursimspiel for 2017. You also can read this on the web site of the Boulder Jewish News, thanks to the BJN publishers, David and Cheryl Fellows.

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend–Or Are They? The Story of Arle de Leon, a Medieval Spanish-Jewish Wise Woman–A NonPurimspiel for 2018. You also can read this on the web site for the Boulder Jewish News, thanks to David and Cheryl Fellows, the BJN publishers. To read last year’s Purimspiel, click on The Wonderful Cholent links in the previous document, just above. But remember, this year’s story is definitely, emphatically, NOT a Purimspiel, whatever you may think. I am referring you to the real Purimspiel in case you didn’t read it last year or, if you did, may have forgotten some of the details and so, horror of horrors, might be totally, utterly lost reading this year’s story, which I am sorry to remind you so soon is NOT a Purimspiel, even if it sounds like one, and if you aren’t sure, you can read them both at the same time and see for yourself the difference and not just take my word for it. This work is dedicated to the memory of my late father, Bernard Rasof (1918-2017), who also was a poet and who specialized in playfully humorous verse.

Souls in the Garden: Poems Inspired by Travels in Medieval and Modern Jewish Spain–A new collection of poems about people (e.g., Maimonides, Don Isaac Abravanel, Leaping Mary, St John of the Cross, and Yehudah Halevi), places (e.g., the Alhambra, Granada, Avila, and Toledo), events (e.g. the Inquisition and the Expulsion of Jews from Spain), and other topics (e.g., Muslim-Jewish enmity, astrology, and the Messiah). At the moment available only in this .pdf file on the Web site, but available in print later in 2018 or early in 2019.