Ellen Kushner

"I'm learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma."*

64 notes

1799: Head of the Year | Marge Piercy


"Head of the Year"
Marge Piercy

The moon is dark tonight, a new
moon for a new year. It is
hollow and hungers to be full.
It is the black zero of beginning.

Now you must void yourself
of injuries, insults, incursions.
Go with empty hands to those
you have hurt and make amends.

It is not too late. It is early
and about to grow. Now
is the time to do what you
know you must and have feared
to begin. Your face is dark
too as you turn inward to face
yourself, the hidden twin of
all you must grow to be.

Forgive the dead year. Forgive
yourself. What will be wants
to push through your fingers.
The light you seek hides
in your belly. The light you
crave longs to stream from
your eyes. You are the moon
that will wax in new goodness.

Filed under Rosh Hashanah marge piercy

21 notes


Jewish communists and socialists at various points in history developed different ways of observing the High Holy Days. In 1920s Moscow, the Jewish section of the Communist Party argued against observing them at all, instead campaigning for a “Red Rosh Hashanah” and a “Red Kol Nidre”, when Jewish workers would donate the day’s earnings to the industrial movement. In the 1950s socialist agricultural kibbutz movement in Israel, “Kibbutz holidays were always centered on the community, rather than the family. They were marked together in the dining hall or on the grass, with the participation of adults and children. The ceremonies drew on Jewish texts, on new Hebrew writing and on universal literature.

"A ceremony at Kibbutz Hulda, in central Israel, in 1953, opened with a “tekia” – a shofar blast – that was commuted, according to the stage instructions, into flute music. There was then a prayer accompanied by piano and a hymn sung to music from Handel’s “Samson.” “We send our blessings to the vineyards and the fields, the orchards and gardens, so that they may grant us a harvest and fill our silos,” one of the members intoned. It was the kibbutzniks doing the blessing; God was absent.

"Then a choir of children sang, “A good year to every worker/ in the furrow and in the cement. A good and sweet year to every girl and boy!”

Sources: Bialik and Kipling, but no God: How kibbutz pioneers marked Rosh Hashanah; Jewish Communists campaign against High Holy Days observance

L’shana tova, comrades!