Last week the Jewish people commemorated Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), and this Thursday we Jews mourn those killed defending the people and State of Israel on Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day). On Friday, we turn our mourning into celebration on Yom Haatzmaut (Israel’s 70th Anniversary of Independence).

Throughout the week I will offer poetry that evokes the essence of these days. Here are words of the Russian Jewish poet Shaul Tschernichovsky  (1875 – 1943):

“Laugh, smile upon the dreams / It is I, the dreamer, who is speaking / Laugh, for I still believe in humankind / for I still believe in you.

For my soul still yearns for freedom / I have not sold it to a golden calf / For I still believe in humankind /  in his strong spirit.

I believe also in the future / even if the day will tarry / Yet, it will come and nation from nation / will carry peace and blessing.”