Earlier this month I hosted a Tu B’shvat gathering for our havurah focused on the shivat haminim — a seven species — “deconstructed” seder. With 25 kids, we opted for heavy on the deconstructed, light on the seder and decided to have a potluck where each family brought a dish incorporating one or more species of Israel. Ideas, recipes and questions about the ingredients flew back and forth on Twitter and Facebook prior to the gathering. For many, this was a new concept and people wanted to know: What are these items? Where does the Torah make reference to them? Which of these are locally grown here in Georgia? What in the world is date honey, and did they even cultivate bees in Ancient Israel?
Each Thursday, The Arty Semite features excerpts and reviews of the best contemporary Jewish poetry. This week Jake Marmer introduces “The Household Gods” by Richard Chess.
To an American reader, accustomed to individualistic poetry of Walt Whitman or the confessional writings of Silvia Plath, the recently published collection of Israeli poet Rivka Miriam, “These Mountains: Selected Poems of Rivka Miriam” (Toby Press) may seem like a deliberate insult.