Rabbi Jennifer Singer in From Narrow Places

Follow R. Jennifer on Twitter / Read R. Jennifer’s Blog

Buy the book: yourbayit.org/narrow-places/


Rabbi Jennifer Singer, a member of Bayit’s Liturgical Arts Working Group, is the spiritual leader of Congregation Kol HaNeshama in Sarasota, Florida, where she has served since 2008, first as education director and then as spiritual leader beginning in 2013. She was ordained as a rabbi and spiritual director by ALEPH in January, 2017. She holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from The Jewish Theological Seminary. She has taught extensively, including in a groundbreaking pilot program for emerging community leaders created by The Jewish Federations of North America, and was a contributor to the second edition of the curriculum. She spent 20 years as an endowment professional and major gifts fundraiser in the Jewish community, most recently working for the American Technion Society. She previously worked in marketing, and as a journalist and freelance writer, and is the co-author of Opportunity Knocks: Using PR. She blogs at SRQ Jew.

Here are glimpses of her work from the book:


My Father’s Menorah

When I was small Hanukkah was small too
Except for the sawhorse menorah
my dad made.
Nine huge lightbulbs
screwed into the wood somehow
Cords hidden behind,
Standing proudly
on the front lawn.

We were the only Jews
in the suburban neighborhood.
I walked the few blocks to school
where my teacher insisted
I decorate a Hanukkah bush
to stand beside the Christmas tree.

I got an F on the naked tree
but my dad gave me an A and hot chocolate.
I stood proudly beside him and his
no longer embarrassing menorah,
Eight nights in a row
Reliving my rebellion
Reveling in his love.

Jennifer Singer


The 9th Night: Chanukah of Stars

“I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.”
—Wendell Berry

The year I had no hanukiah
No candles
Not even a match
Because I had let the last cigarettes crumble in a drawer

That year
I waited for dark.
On the first night I went out into the cold grass,
Chose the brightest star as the shamash
And counted, One.
The next night, Two.
The sixth night there were clouds,
and I closed my eyes
And remembered the poet’s day-blind stars
that waited with their light
and counted, Six.
The clouds parted.

On the ninth night I stepped out,
bare toes in the icy grass
Looked up
To see the sky crowded with tiny flames.

Jennifer Singer



Day upon day
Week upon week

Desert sand
in my shoes
in my nostrils

Mountains loom
Clouds congealing
into rock

We see thunder
Hear lightening
Earth shakes
We fall on our faces

and suddenly
I am redeemed
like the booklets
of green stamps
my mother collected

I chose a bicycle
she chose
an electric hand mixer
which I have to this day,

Like the
It stands ready
for me to return.

Jennifer Singer


Follow R. Jennifer on Twitter / Read R. Jennifer’s Blog

Buy the book: yourbayit.org/narrow-places/

From Narrow Places: Liturgy, Poetry, and Art of the Pandemic Era was published this month by Bayit and features the collaborative work of our pluralist Liturgical Arts Working Group over the first eighteen months of the COVID-19 pandemic.