Carved From Jerusalem Stone

Aliya Poems

By Esther Fein

103 pages, the cover is a collage of photographs taken by the author and prepared by Dfus Noy
Printed in Jerusalem 2011
Combining warmth with stark reality, humor with pathos, deep introspection with playfulness, spirituality with mundane activities, Esther Fein illuminates the wonderful and uplifting journey that accompanies one who makes Aliyah. As evidenced in the fitting title, she leaves no stone unturned, detailing her acclimation and absorption process through the lens of the Jewish calendar. This beautiful, pithy, and poignant book gives the reader a glimpse of her wisdom, courage, and talent along with a strong dose of refreshing hopefulness and joy. It is a precious gem.
Dr. Chaya Newman
Teacher Educator

In this volume, Esther Fein opens a window onto her life as a new immigrant. Through these poems she displays both her struggle and how she copes, not only with a new life in a new country but also with the wars, battles, and much loss that were part of her lot before her aliyah. Her positive attitude has enabled her to overcome much grief and many obstacles, and her immense gratitude to the Creator for her family and for the good she finds in every challenge radiates from these pages. Even though "it feels like death when one leaves his familiar turf", she is forever the optimist, overflowing with appreciation for all God's gifts to her, and especially taking delight in her grandchildren: "I am my children's flute… My children are my flute.
Her keen sense of humor and her tremendous love for the Land of Israel: its flowers, its trees, its seashore, its very earth; for the Torah of Israel, and the People of Israel, whether traveling on a crowded Egged bus or mingling in a Jerusalem hotel lobby, are evident throughout and her spirit glows in such lines as: "I become a prayer."
Ruth Fogelman
author of Jerusalem Awaking and Cradled in God's Arms

Excerpt

You Gotta Sponga*


Life is not for sissies
Attention misters and missies
In Israel on Erev Shabbos**
You Gotta Sponga

Aliya is not for the faint of heart
But even if you are
Your fainting heart will not faulter
For Hashem continuously cares for his daughter
You Gotta Sponga

Erase the board
Start a brand new slate
Each day, a new term
A chance to excel-erate
You Gotta Sponga

I think Gene Kelly*** got it right
Dancing in the rain
Or with his broom (was he Jewish)
How clever, how bright

You Gotta Sponga

* Sponga-to wash the floor
** Erev Shabbos-literally, the day before the Sabbath, or Friday
*** American actor, dancer



Coming Home

Inspired by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s words, "Amor, ahora nos vamos a la casa/Love, we are going home now"*

My treasured soul, let us return home
It has been an elevating journey
From winding trails to mountain peaks
From silent deserts to singing rivers
Regal trees accompanying us
As soldiers on guard
Monitoring our safety
The steadfast redwood, the evergreen and eucalyptus
Thank you, dear creatures, for your loyal camaraderie
For your cooling shades, your whispering lullabies
Now we bid you farewell
As we turn into our own courtyard
Vines overhanging our Sukkot**
Almond blossoms greeting us at our doors

* Pablo Neruda-born Neftali Ricardo Eliecer Reyes y Basoalto, 100 Love Sonnets/Cien sonetos de amor (1960), translated by Stephen Tapscott, University of Texas Press: Austin, 1986, p. 73
** Sukkot-huts; the holiday reminiscent of G-d’s protection of the Jews’ wanderings in the desert before arriving to the Promised Land