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  • Tkhine in Adar II (February, Leap Year)1, and; Tkhine in Iyar (May), and; Tkhine in Tammuz (July)
  • Lenore Weiss (bio)

Tkhine in Adar II (February, Leap Year)1

I come before you, a woman who catches white blossoms before they drift to the ground,

begging you, merciful God, to allow my country to hear the words of the Winter Soldiers testifying this weekend in Washington, D.C. how they can no longer honor military guidelines for killing other human beings, and while I’m on the subject,

allow the people of Israel and Palestine to become so weary of violence they demand of their leaders to find an olive branch which has not been cut down, and to stand beneath its small shade as they approach each other with an offering of fresh goat’s milk. [End Page 112]

Tkhine in Iyar (May)

Hear me out in less time than it takes to boil water, You who created the People with your wisdom and commanded us not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge,

which is not why I came to this coffee-spilled table, near a parking lot filled with hybrid cars.

God loves the ones who speak out, which is what I’m trying to do talking with You while my boyfriend’s in Louisiana, and I hope you’ll bless him

so he may journey back to me safely without sitting on the tarmac for a half day so that we might see each other before we return to work,

and bless my step-daughter counting the days for her below market rate housing unit, my son who is beginning to understand the past does not need to dictate who he is, and my daughter whose strength shines from her eyes as she drives between her college dorm and Santa Rita prison.

For so many years I felt like an ox pulling the cart of my family along a thirsty road making sure to avoid ruts, and now You have breathed back into my dry bones so that I am a young girl sitting here in a coffee shop near the airport awaiting my love. [End Page 113]

Tkhine in Tammuz (July)

Of all our feelings the only one which really doesn’t belong to us is hope. Hope belongs to life, it’s life itself defending itself.

—Julio Cortázar, Hopscotch

A sprig of snipped wire falls at my feet. My neighbor recites a litany of her past dogs.

There is a tight black place behind my eyelids. I have a crazy longing for a cigarette.

In summer, Big Sur never sleeps. A franchise of fire marks up the sky.

My lover is gone for six days a week. He warned me about that.

I didn’t listen, protected in his arms from my alarm clock.

Why worry about something when it doesn’t rest upon the mantlepiece?

Better to take things as they come. As time shortens, pine needles scratch at the air.

Only sing to me, Shekhinah.1 Your Love pools in my heart. [End Page 114]

Lenore Weiss

Lenore Weiss is an award-winning writer who now lives in the Bay Area. Her collections include “Sh’ma Yis’rael” (2007) from Pudding House Publications, “Public and Other Places” (2003), and “Business Plan” (2001). Her work has most recently appeared in Nimrod International Journal, Copper Nickel, and Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal, as well as anthologized in Not a Muse: Inner Lives of Women and Appleseeds. Lenore’s multimedia presentation “The Cell-Phone Poems,” an exploration of the changing relationship between public and private space, has been aired on public radio. Lenore has served as the Fiction Editor of the November 3rd Club since 2005. When not writing, she works as a WebMaster, grows tomatoes on her patio, and does laps at the gym.


1. Tkhines are Yiddish prayers for women. The word tkhine, from Hebrew, means “supplication” or “prayer.” Tkhines first appeared in print in 1648, a phenomenon of Ashkenazic Jewry. Scholars have pinpointed Amsterdam as the epicenter. Unlike the standard prayer book, tkhines were written in Yiddish to allow women, who traditionally were not taught Hebrew, to read the...


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