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Book Review: Haikus For Jews by David Bader

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

A little tiny collection of haiku with themes focusing on Jewish American life, primarily that of Ashkenazi Jews. Definitely amusing, a little corny, and very easy to read. I preface that the Jewish themes are both American and Ashkenazi because you won't find a Sephardic American Jew or a native-born Israeli that eats knishes, gefilte fish, or drinks egg cream. Well, they might, but only after some serious assimilation and even then you will more likely find them writing Haiku about levivot (fried vegetable latkes), dag moroccai (Moroccan fish in red sauce), and their morning Nescafe.

Summarized on inside jacket cover,

"For centuries, the Japanese haiku has been one of the world's most dazzling poetic forms. In just three short lines, it captures the sublime beauty of nature--the croak of the bullfrog, the buzzing of the dragonfly, the shriek of the cicada, the scream of the cormorant. Now, with Haikus for Jews, there is finally a collection that celebrates the many advantages of staying indoors.

Inspired by ancient Zen teachings and timeless Jewish noodging, this masterful work is filled with insights that will make you exclaim, "Ah!" or at least "Oy!"

Whether you are Jewish or you simply enjoy a good kosher haiku, these "chai-kus" (so called because of their high chutzpah content) are certain to amuse. What's more, with each poem limited to seventeen syllables, Haikus for Jew is is perfect for people in a hurry. Find out why Gd has made these The Chosen Haikus."

A few haiku from the collection that made me chuckle,

"Hey! Get back indoors!

Whatever you were doing

Could put on eye out."

"Testing the warm milk

on her wrist, she beams -- nice, but

her son is forty"

I received this book second-hand from someone moving to a new home desperate to get rid of their extensive library, and you know I didn't hesitate to drive across the city to get some books. I knew by the title it would probably be a bit cheesy, but a book about two subjects I love reading about, haiku and Jews, couldn't be passed up. I have been writing haiku for well over 18 years. I'm really not sure when I first read a haiku or why the style of poetry struck me as it did, but I haven't ever stopped writing haiku since. Haiku is to me the perfect breath of expression. A short, refreshing breath that can be so profound in its brevity. As much as I am a creative-minded person, I have a deep love for mathematics and the structure of Haiku with its 5-7-5 syllable count makes haiku a brain-bending exercise that forces the use of better vocabulary.

All in all, very entertaining, but find this one second-hand. Three stars for this little book. See it on my virtual shelf here, and in my library at Sunbird House here.

Until the next book review, be well.


Avigail Hayoun dressed in beige sweather with satin neck scarf, red lipstick, and a Mona Lisa smile.

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