Mashiv HaRuach


By Efrat Cohen

From Mashiv HaRuach’s beginning, we have advocated for connections. We’ve stressed the importance of a connection between Judaism and Israeliness, as well as a connection between people of different generations, different faiths, and different opinions. 

Despite all our activities and achievements—all the places where people from all the ‘tribes’ and sectors have felt at home—our work is not finished. There are times, like in the past two years, where the need for connections has been even more crucial. I believe that connection isn’t just vital for our continued existence, but also possible. 

I write these lines looking toward the coming days of remembrance and independence. Especially this year, who among us isn’t asking themselves how to balance the pain of Yom HaZikaron and the joy of Yom Ha’Atzmaut? 

The situation is difficult: the hostages, the injured, the bereaved families, the uprooted. 

Acknowledging the presence of the fracture and holding on to the dream and the hope despite everything, is a meaningful part of Jewish fate and Jewish culture. During our greatest joy, as we celebrate weddings, we still end the ceremony with the breaking of a glass. During Pesach, when we are supposed to recline like free people, we eat the matzah, ‘the bread of our affliction.’

May we find strength. 

May all our wishes and prayers for freedom and release from captivity be granted in the most tangible manner one might ask for.

And may this come to be very soon.


I have chosen to bring two poems published in 5766-2006. The first is by the poet Bacol Serlui, who was born in 1983 (she was 22 when she wrote the poem), the daughter of a Religious Zionist family who was raised and educated in Jerusalem and Ma’ale Michmash in Binyamin. When I wrote to her about the choice of poem, she told me to write that Mashiv HaRuach discovered her 20 years ago and since then has been a home for her. At other times, she has claimed that Mashiv HaRuach saved her life…

The second poem is by the poet Shachar Mario Mordechai, who was born in 1975 in Kiryat Bialik to a secular Mizrachi family, and who also began to publish his poems in Mashiv HaRuach and found in it a home. Shachar recently won the Zelda Poetry Prize, which we initiated at Mashiv HaRuach, and has been awarded in recent years in partnership with the Jerusalem Municipality. 

Both Bacol and Shachar chose two very different subjects: Jerusalem for Bacol’s poem and Shabbat for Shachar’s. But both poems, each in its own special style, are extremely personal and unique, and don’t ‘collapse’ under the weight of the heavy burden of their subjects, but rejuvenate them and discover in them new faces, born from personal experience.

I read these two poems and think on the one hand of the State of Israel’s 76th Independence Day but also of living in Israel in the last year. Bacol and Shachar’s poems exemplify the ability to hold a love that is complex, and rooted in a Hebrew time (Shabbat) and place (Jerusalem). They offer us the possibility of overcoming the darkness, the fear, and the anger, since they too, regretfully, are also a part of our lives.

WINTER POEM IN JERUSALEM | שִׁיר חֹרֶף בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם


The wind stirred up the surface of the street

And rain strikes like a cloud of recollection

To pass by, to return—and always to love

In anger, distress, paucity, vexation.

It is almost noon. If I overflow my banks

Flooding the street, the village, the town

Please don’t lose me, all my lives, all my deaths.

Time is melting down; please don’t let me drown.

Now yearnings are high above the mountain.

And the quiet is a bird tearing through clouds.

In the barred town only eternity remains

Moaning consolation, healing stones.

And it’s very cold in town, it’s wet and not from tears

Yearnings, like a human herd, are bleating in the lanes.

And once again my Lord, from wailing to failing

You rise in me alive, like a firebrand from the ruins.

בכל סרלואי

.וְהָרוּחַ סָתְרָה אֶת פְּנֵי הָרְחוֹב

.וְהַגֶּשֶׁם מַכֶּה כְּחַשְׁרַת זִכָּרוֹן

לַעֲבֹר וְלָשׁוּב – וְתָמִיד לֶאֱהֹב

.בְּעֶבְרָה, בְּצָרָה, בְּדַלּוּת, בְּחָרוֹן

כְּבָר כִּמְעַט צָהֳרַיִם. אִם אֶעֱבֹר עַל גְּדוֹתַי

וְאָצִיף אֶת הָרְחוֹב, אֶת הָעִיר, אֶת הַכְּרַךְ

,רַק אַל תְּאַבְּדֵנִי. כָּל חַיַּי, כָּל מוֹתַי

.נָא אַל תַּטְבִּיעֵנִי בַּזְּמַן הַנִּתָּךְ

.עַכְשָׁו גַּעְגּוּעִים לְמַעְלָה מִן הָהָר

.וְהַשֶּׁקֶט צִפּוֹר קוֹרַעַת עֲנָנִים

וּבָעִיר הַמְסֹרֶגֶת רַק הַנֶּצַח נוֹתָר

.מְנַהֵם נֶחָמָה, מְרַפֵּא אֲבָנִים

וְקַר מְאֹד בָּעִיר. רָטֹב וְלֹא מִבֶּכִי

.גַּעְגּוּעִים, כְּצֹאן אָדָם, פּוֹעִים בָּרְחוֹבוֹת

וְשׁוּב אֵ-לִי, מִבֶּכִי עַד לְדֶחִי

אַתָּה עוֹלֶה בִּי חַי, כָּאוּד מֵחֳרָבוֹת


“To pass by, to return—and always to love
In anger, distress, paucity, vexation.” 

1. Reflect on your relationship with Israel (the people, the state, the land) and/or Jerusalem and then write down on one side of a paper experiences and memories of love and longing. On the other side of the paper, write experiences and memories that bring up anger, frustration, distress. Or think of memories from winter in Jerusalem.

2. Look at the different words on the page. Is there a way to hold these two aspects of our relationship with Jerusalem and/or Israel together? Should we write two parallel texts: one of what challenges us and one that awakens longing and love? What can we learn from these two lists about our relationship with Israel?

ON THE SEVENTH | בַּשְּׁבִיעִי


Master of all universes,

You created the heaven and the earth in six days

And on the seventh – it is not true what they say:

“God ceased from doing all His work”

Because on the seventh you enlarge my heart and make it


Since on every seventh day my heart fills with light

And the sea in my heart returns to its place,

And on high hangs the firmament with stars that shine brightly

And the dry land appeared.

And my heart becomes a living soul.

Welcome ministering angels

It’s already the time for you to come;

The house and its furnishings are beautiful.

Archangels, my heart is singing

It’s the end of darkness and confusion,

There is love within its walls.

Translation by Rachel Korazim, Heather Silverman and Michael Bohnen

Genesis 1:9: And God said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered to one place, and let the dry land appear, and it was so.”

שחר מריו מרדכי

בּוֹן כָּל הָעוֹלָמִים 

עָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ שִׁשָּׁה יָמִים

וּבַשְּׁבִיעִי – זֶה לֹא נָכוֹן מַה שֶּׁאוֹמְרִים: שָׁבַת  מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ

כִּי בַּשְּׁבִיעִי אַתָּה מַרְחִיב לִבִּי וּמַגְדִּיל לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ

שֶׁבְּכָל שְׁבִיעִי נִמְלָא לִבִּי אוֹר

וְשָׁב הַיָּם בְּלִבִּי אֶל מְקוֹמוֹ

וְעַל גָּבְהוֹ נִתְלֶה רָקִיעַ וְכוֹכָבָיו יֵיטִיבוּ זְהֹר

וְתֵרָאֶה הַיַּבָּשָׁה

וְיוֹצֵא לִבִּי נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה

שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם, מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת,

כְּבַר זְמַן שֶׁתָּבוֹאוּ;

יָפֶה הַבַּיִת עַל כֵּלָיו.

מַלְאֲכֵי עֶלְיוֹן, זֶה לִבִּי הַשָּׁר אֶת 

תֹּם הַחֹשֶׁךְ וְהַתֹּהוּ,

שֶׁאַהֲבָה יֵשׁ בֵּין כְּתָלָיו.



“Because on the seventh you enlarge my heart and make it 
Since on every seventh day my heart fills with light
And the sea in my heart returns to its place,
And on high hangs the firmament with stars that shine brightly 
And the dry land appeared. 
And my heart becomes a living soul.”

1. As we transition into Israel’s 77th year, which headlines, news, events (small or big) might symbolize the “dry land [that] appeared?”

2. Who are your “stars that shine brightly?”

3. What makes your heart, as well as the hearts of your learners and loved ones, feel like a “living soul?”

Mashiv HaRuach is a poetry journal that has succeeded in “producing a wave of creativity in Hebrew poetry in general and among religious authors in particular.” Since its founding almost 30 years ago, it has released more than 90 issues of the periodical, as well as anthologies and books. Efrat Cohen is the Director of Mashiv HaRuach.