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Hanukkah Through Rhymes

Posted on Friday, December 07, 2018 by Becca Thomas

After a tough year filled with tragedy close to home and in the wider world, Wexner Heritage Members Alana Ballon (San Francisco 18) and Tammy Hepps (Pittsburgh 18) were talking about ways to make the holidays fun in middle of such darkness. Tammy mentioned a menorah-making contest she’d heard a day school was doing in Pittsburgh and Alana thought about a poetry seder she’d seen for Passover, and then the idea to elicit “Hanukkah Haikus, Limericks and Short Poems” was born on Facebook. Within a few days they had some great submissions, including the following from fellow Heritage members.


Greg Neichin, WHP (San Francisco 18)
On American shores we arrived
To where holiday cheer is contrived
So we sang to old glory, jazzed up the Maccabee story
G-d knows there’s worse we’ve survived.

But it’s hard to compete with their trees
We’re fighting with one hand from our knees
So we give gifts for eight nights and we sing from the heights
Hoping this stunt for our kids will appease

But what if we abandoned the tchotchkes
The gelt, and the kitsch, the oily latkes
We stripped it all back to the original fact
We’re just Jews standing here in our gatkes

A simple and powerful sight
A Jew standing before a bright light
It’s enough that we’re here and we don’t disappear
Chag Sameach and to all a good night. 

Tammy Hepps, WHP (Pittsburgh 18)
A Chanukah lim'rick you want?
Oh alright, I think, all nonchalant
I have eight days to try
But let out a sigh
I'm not a poetic savant

A Maccabee stanza I'll write
Since Maccabee's meter is right
But now these two lines
Have other guidelines
'Gainst which Maccabee puts up a fight

Latkes I then think of next
Already this poem is hexed
I'm feeling quite fried
For all rhymes I've tried
In English this word's too complex

This poem I'll say that I wrote
Just to vanquish the word sufgan'yot
I have fire in my belly
My legs are not jelly
And now I will let myself gloat

These lim'ricks are my contribution
Don't judge me on my elocution
From the chag I have not
Included the plot
Please grant me some small absolution

This contest I prob'ly can't win
I'm a sponsor; it would be a sin
I'll wind up just fine
The gelt will be mine
When the dreidl I sit down to spin

Jonathan Weinkle, WHP (Pittsburgh 18)
Got rid of idols
Sing מעוז צור ישועתי
End up with heartburn