Page 14 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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MILTON HINDUS
Jewish American Poetry
I
n s t e a d
o f
c o m p i l i n g
a
s u r v e y
of Jews in American poetry
studded with names and titles, I am going to speak of the
situation of such a poet as it is known to me and mention a few
names and works in the course of the discussion.
Recently I heard an interesting sermon in which the rabbi
spoke of a suggestion he had once made to his congregants that
they might try their hands at composing prayers of their own
on some of the same themes as those included in the prayer
book. He read to us some of the results he received, and they
were in general about what one might expect under the circum-
stances. It was an ingenious exercise, and those who troubled
about it learned, if nothing else, to appreciate more than they
had done when they had recited their prayers by rote those
which had been preserved in the books before them. The last
of the selections which the rabbi read out to us particularly
caught my attention with its verbal skill. It sounded familiar,
of course, because it was a version of the traditional Kaddish,
but it sounded familiar for another reason as well. Here is what
I heard the rabbi read:
Upon Israel and upon the rabbis
and upon the disciples and upon all the disciples of their
disciples
and upon all who study the Torah in this place and in
every place,
to them and to you
peace;
upon Israel and upon all who meet with unfriendly glances,
sticks and stones and names
on posters, in newspapers, or in books to last,
chalked on asphalt or in acid on glass,
shouted from a thousand thousand windows by radio;
who are pushed out of class-rooms and rushing trains,
whom the hundred hands of a mob strike,
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