Of all the many forms of Jewish-Japanese poetry, the Jewish haiku is perhaps the most sublimely beautiful. Consisting of just seventeen syllables, this little-known style of verse combines the simplicity and elegance of Asian art with the irritability and impatience of Jewish kvetching. It’s brief, carefully wrought lines are designed to produce in the reader a “haiku moment”—a sudden intense realization, such as “So that’s it?” Like the Japanese haiku, the Jewish haiku is typically an untitled work, consisting of three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. It also has to include a kigo, or “season word,” hinting at the time of year. For example, in traditional Japanese haiku, russet could suggest autumn, dragonfly could mean summer, while cherry blossom might connote spring. Similarly, in Jewish haiku, sunblock could signify summer, extra sweater winter, and doing my taxes spring.
Following are excerpts from the book “Haikus For Jews” by David M. Bader:
Seven-foot Jews in
The NBA slam-dunking—
My alarm clock rings
The sparkling blue sea
Beckons me to wait one hour
After my sandwich
Like a bonsai tree,
Your terrible posture at
My dinner table
Eternal soul mate—must be
Wet moss on the old
Stone path—flat on my back, I
Ponder whom to sue
Hard to tell under
The lights—white yarmulke or
Heimlich. Is that a
Jewish name? I wonder, as
A diner turns blue
Is one Nobel Prize
So much to ask from a child
After all I’ve done?
After the warm rain,
The sweet scent of camellias.
Did you wipe your feet?
A lovely nose ring--
Excuse me while I put my
Head in the oven
Jewish voodoo tip--
Mention an acting career,
` Then watch for chest pain
How can I atone
For scalping my tickets to
The High Holidays?
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For those who frequent Chinese restaurants (don't we all?), and see the placemats showing the Chinese zodiac (you know, the year of the rat, the year of the monkey, etc.) - here is the official Jewish equivalent. Now you can find out who you REALLY are.
The Year of:
1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003
You're a healer, nourishing all whom you encounter. We feel better just being in your presence. Mothers want to bring you home to meet their children - resist this at all costs. Compatible with Bagel and Knish.
1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004
You've got a devious personality since you're made with neither eggs nor cream. Friends find your pranks refreshing; others think you're too frothy. Compatible with Blintz, who also has something to hide.
1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005
People either love you or hate you, making you wonder "What am I, chopped liver?" But don't get a complex; you're always welcome at the holidays! Bagel's got your back.
1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006
Creamy and dreamy, you're rightfully cautious to travel in pairs. You play it coy but word is that, with the right topping, you turnover morning, noon and night. Compatible with Schmear.
1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007
Working class with a grating exterior, you're a real softie on the inside. Kind of plain naked, but when dressed up you're a real dish. Compatible with Schmear's cousin Sour Cream.
1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
You're pliable and always bounce back, although you feel something's missing in your center. If this persists, get some therapy. Compatible with Schmear and Lox...Latke and Knish, not so much.
1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
You're the perfect sidekick: friends love your salty wit and snappy banter, but you never overshadow them. That shows genuine seasoning from when you were a cucumber. Marry Pastrami later in life.
1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
You blend well with others but often spread yourself too thin. A smooth operator, you could use some spicing up now and then. Compatible with Bagel and Lox. Avoid Pastrami - wouldn't be kosher.
1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Brisket's hipper sibling, always smokin' and ready to party. You spice up life even if you keep your parents up at night. Compatible with Pickle, who's always by your side.
BLACK AND WHITE COOKIE
1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Kids love you, but make up your mind! Are you black or white? Cake or cookie? You say you're "New Age," all yin & yang. We call it "bipolar." Sweetie, you're most compatible with yourself.
1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Flaky on the surface, you're actually a person of depth and substance. Consider medical or law school, but don't get too wrapped up in yourself. Compatible with Pickle. Avoid Lox, who's out of your league.
1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
Thin and rich, you're very high maintenance: all you want to do is bask in the heat, getting some color. Consider retiring to Boca. Compatible with Bagel and Schmear, although you top them both.
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