Haiku Hanukkah


Menorahs (Photo: Oliver Pollak)


 ©  Oliver B. Pollak

Oliver Pollak

RICHMOND, California — The November 2016 election rekindled my 1960s haiku habits. I may take the name “17 Syllable human.”

An email announced Chabad’s 5 pm Menorah candle lighting at Hilltop Mall in Richmond. Latkes, song, Jews. Tuesday morning another Chabad email stated there would be candle lightings in 798 cities in 29 countries. Richmond was not on the list. Hmmm. Maybe I’m going to a fake news ethereal and existential bigly menorah.

I found no emoji to close my Hanukkah greetings. Can we fix it? I asked about 50 friends and relations if they had an appropriate emoji and any Hanukkah haikus. I got several menorahs and candles but no dreidel, latke, shamash or lichter. The haikus express childhood joy and sadness of family no longer able to share the joy. Justin Lo captures incineration. The Beatles have resonated for half a century.  “Nowhere Man” (1965), and “Eight Days a Week” (1964), are still hummed even though The Beatles have long since passed the mile marker, “When I’m 64” (1967).

I’m a real emoji man

Chanukah season
No symbolic emoji
Bright kandelikas

Oliver B. Pollak, Richmond, California


How Many Days

Fire, fire burning bright
Spare California; instead,
Shed light, menorah.

Justin Lo © Los Angeles, California


Burning Bright

Candles burning bright
Happy people surround me
On Hanukkah night

Yael Pollak © Berkeley, age 8


Hanukkah Sunset

Hanukkah sunset
The wicks are alight with fire
Chocolate coins yumm

Zev Pollak © Berkeley, age 11


Hanukkah Latkes

Hanukkah latkes
Savory salsa and sweet
Homemade applesauce

Erika Pollak © Berkeley, California



Hanukkah can suck
The light of life has gone out
Taking my brother

Joyce Craig © Los Angeles


Pluck feathers, render fat

Goose duck chicken fat
wandering Jews light wax wicks
Warm food and spirit

Oliver B. Pollak, Richmond, California


Eight Days a Week                           

One lonely candle
The most anticipated
All tired out at eight

Oliver B. Pollak, Richmond, California

Ritual Menus

Eight ritual days
Hanukkah Pesach Sukkot
Latkes matza nuts

Oliver B. Pollak, Richmond    

Gentile Persuasion

Dave and I went to Omaha’s Creighton University School of Law together. We were law partners from 1987 to 2016. All of our children worked in the law office during high school. Dave and I coauthored law review articles. We are both retired. Dave sat at our Seder table and travelled to San Francisco for the Jewish weddings of our two sons. Dave was an acolyte in the Methodist church. In Junior High he served as President of the Methodist Youth Fellowship. He is married to the love of his life, Chris. Most years Easter coincided with spring break and they were camping down south where it was warmer. Christmas was spent with their blended families. “I don’t know my religious taxonomy, perhaps unconventional Christian is the most accurate.”

Jewish Christmas

Jewish Christmas!, right?
Because it’s in December.
Menorahs and wreaths.

David G. Hicks © Omaha, Nebraska 


Santa Schleps

For eight days and nights
Santa comes schlepping dreydls,
Brotherhood abounds!

David G. Hicks© Omaha, Nebraska 


Eternal Flame

Lamp oil shortage
Fearing uncertain future;
Glow, eternal flame!

David G. Hicks© Omaha, Nebraska 


Family and friends, young and old, of all persuasions, this Japanese 17 syllable art form enlivens good and welfare.

Season’s Greetings
So, Happy Hannukah!
And to our friends,
A very merry Christmas!

Donald H Harrison, San Diego

Pollak is a freelance writer based in Richmond, California.




Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 San Diego Jewish World
Please help us defray the costs of providing this free service with your non-tax-deductible contribution in any amount

Most recent 100 posts


Follow this blog

Email address