Kiddush – a poem by Gershon Ben-Avraham

Kiddush

Every Sabbath, on my way to Morning Prayer,
I pass the tennis courts on Bialik Street. The
Russians are already in the midst of matches.
Before I see them, I hear them, calling to one
another, grunting. Sometimes I stop to watch them.
They play bare-headed, wear white sweatbands on their wrists.

After Prayer, on the shul’s steps, my friend recites
Kiddush. Some Yemenites argue loudly; my friend
arbitrates. After a while, he looks at me and
nods, raises his hand. Time to leave. On our way home,
he wears his prayer shawl draped over his shoulders.
We talk of deep things, of God, prayer, and Torah.

As we pass the tennis courts, I turn my head to
see the men. Their games finished now, they are seated
at tables in the sun, their racquets on the ground
beside them. They are drinking and eating. I love
their laughter, their banter, their camaraderie—
their shul. Must be their kiddush, I say to myself.

Gershon Ben-Avraham lives in Be’er Sheva, Israel. He holds an MA in Philosophy from Temple University. His fiction has appeared in the Big Muddy, Bookends Review, Broad River Review, Crack the Spine, Gravel, and Jewish Fiction.net. His short story “Yoineh Bodek” appeared in Issue No. 96 of Image: Art, Faith, Mystery.

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