“What Will We Think” By Dr Howard Goldenberg

What will we think

When we look back?

How will we change

And be changed?



My little minyan,


Ancient prayer,

Older than the Era,


Have we ever before –

Before the Roman,

Or before Inquisitor

Or in the camps –

Ceased to foregather?


I’ve bewailed Jerusalem

Alone, in the outback,

‘How, sitteth the city alone’,

I sang.

I can do that again.


But one hundred notes

Of the shofar –

Abraham’s horn,

The horn that shook

The mount in its smoke –

Who will hear

From so far?

And how do we atone



And we want to atone.

We asked, Who by fire?

And the fires replied:

Thirty four.

We asked, Who by water?

And the floods spoke:

Two – in Queensland.

And we asked, Who by plague?

And the plague is still counting

And the aged dead are mounting.

Even ‘though we prayed,

Cast me not off

In old age.


On the Eighth Day

Of Solemn Assembly

God said,

Kasheh le’hipared:

He said, He’d miss us.

I haven’t missed God:

From my deeps,

(my particular deeps)

I have called Him,

And I have felt Him close.


But I have missed my minyan –

‘We few, we happy few,

We band of brothers’ –

My minyan,

Where we treated God

As we treated one another –

As a brother.



The prophet said –

He, of the broken heart,

Forsaken, cut off, alone –

‘I will betroth thee

For ever;

I will betroth thee

With righteousness

And with justice

And with compassion;

I will betroth thee

With faithfulness,

And you will know Hashem.’