Rosh HaShanah in the Pines 1 – A New Year’s Poem

Since 1999 I have served as Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Olam.  B’nai Olam is a unique and special congregation in Fire Island Pines, a beautiful summer community on Fire Island, off the Coast of Long Island, which meets only  for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.  In 2007 I began writing a new poem every year for Rosh HaShanah.  In these days leading up to Rosh HaShanah, I will be sharing these poems here.  Shanah tovah u’metukah.


Rosh HaShanah in the Pines, Fire Island, 2007/5768

Slanted light filters through pine trees,

sweet smell of resin stickiness,

rough wood of the boardwalk

— careful to avoid the nails —

moist breaths of salt air,

rusted sliding doors open grudgingly onto decks.


The new year comes amidst

heightened senses,

grains of sand between toes,

nearly empty gray blue beaches,

autumnal monarchs alighting on end-of-season purple buds.


One more year.

Who is missing from the congregation?

My father gone now four years,

the kids taller,

grumbling teenagers who crave attention.


An orange sun setting over the bay.

Phosphorescence outlines each crest of waves.

Flashlights in the dark

guiding us home.


© 2007 by Hara E. Person, originally published in Bridges.

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Filed under High Holy days, Judaism, Poetry

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