Justice in Israel

May the New Year & Its Blessings Begin: “Little Sister” for a contemporary Israel

0 Comments 19 September 2017

Little Sister is a famous piyut (hymn) that opens the liturgy for Rosh Hashanah. It was written by the Kabbalist Rabbi Avraham Chazan of Girona in the 13th century. The piyut describes the suffering of the Jews in the Diaspora and ends each verse with the words: “May the year and its curses come to an end!” The last verse wishes for better days and ends with the words: “May the New Year with its blessings begin.”

Under its inspiration, members of the social justice team at Rabbis for Human Rights composed a modern piyut based on the department’s work in the last year. The result is a modern Israeli hymn that constitutes a contemporary Jewish social manifesto.

"May the year and its curses come to an end."

“May the year and its curses come to an end.”

 

Little sister, the division of your resources is unjust
You have no comprehensive plan to alleviate poverty
This problem envelops us
May we rise to action
May the year and its curses come to an end

Little sister is turning 70
She violates human and civil rights in the name of God
And those who warn and try to help are branded as traitors
May this curse be removed from us
May the year and its curses come to an end

Our country does not have enough public housing
And she says: “I await my turn”
Meanwhile she pays impossible rent
If only she finds herself a dwelling
May the year and its curses come to an end

She has worked her whole life
In the last year she fell sick
The National Insurance Institute has recognized her as disabled
But she cannot live on her allowance
May her disgrace be removed
May the year and its curses come to an end

The income supplement law encourages education
For single mothers, but not really
Because the regulations demand regular visits to the Employment Bureau
We are going to change the rules
May the new year and its blessings begin

Medical care costs as much as gold
Free education is expensive
So what should she buy, medicine or schoolbooks?
May the wages of her work be increased
May the year and its curses come to an end

The Urban Renewal Authority made a law
We interfered so that the poor
Also got a hearing and not only the developers
We improved its goals and the powers of its administrations
May the New Year and its blessings begin

White bread, sugar and cheap candy
Arrived in the food box… And the children ate
It is not nutritious, it is just junk
May her food be enriched
May the year and its curses come to an end

The Amidar public housing company says “evacuation and construction”
If you’re a tenant, too bad for you
We will reach out to every unfortunate
And help them demand their rights
The time has come to claim what she deserves
May the New Year and its blessings begin

The social justice department works
For policy change in the Knesset committees
Because today for the stranger, the poor, the orphan and the widow
Changing laws and regulations is the salvation
May justice and mercy dwell with the decision-makers
May the New Year and its blessings begin

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