דער נײער קאָלאסוס | The New Collosus, by Emma Lazarus (1883), Yiddish translation by Rachel Kirsch Holtman (1938)

This is the sonnet, “The New Collosus” (1883) by Emma Lazarus set side-by-side with its Yiddish translation by Rachel Kirsch Holtman. Lazarus famously penned her sonnet in response to the waves of Russian-Jewish refugees seeking refuge in the Unites States of America as a result of murderous Russian pogroms following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881. Her identification and revisioning of the Statue of Liberty as the Mother of Exiles points to the familiar Jewish identification of the Shekhinah (the Divine Presence, in its feminine aspect) with the light of the Jewish people in their Diaspora. . . .

עַל הַנִּסִּים בִּימֵי הוֹדָיָה לְאֻמִּיִּים | Al Hanissim prayer for thanksgiving on all Secular/National Days of Gratitude, by Aharon Varady

Opportunities to express gratitude on secular, nationalist days of thanksgiving demand acknowledgement of an almost unfathomably deep history of trauma — not only the suffering and striving of my immigrant ancestors, but the sacrifice of all those who endured suffering dealt by their struggle to survive, and often failure to survive, the oppressions dealt by colonization, conquest, hegemony, natural disaster. Only the Earth (from which we, earthlings were born, Bnei Adam from Adamah) has witnessed the constancy of the violent deprivations we inflict upon each other. The privilege I’ve inherited from these sacrifices has come at a cost, and it must be honestly acknowledged, especially on secular/national days of thanksgiving, independence, and freedom. I insert this prayer after Al Hanissim in the Amidah and in the Birkat Hamazon on national days of independence and thanksgiving. . . .


בסיעתא דארעא