The Jewish Eye
Hear O Lord
Hear O Lord
Poems from the Disturbances of 2000 - 2009
By Eliaz Cohen
Translated by Larry Barak
The Toby Press, (2010)
Reviewed by Simone Bonim - April 27, 2011
Eliaz Cohen is an Israeli poet, peace activist, the editor of the Mashiv Haru'ach poetry magazine, and a former social worker who has come to the fore as one of Israel's leading composers of religious poetry. Born in 1972, Cohen is married, has children, and is a member of kibbutz Kfar-Etzion. In his collection of poetry entitled Hear O Lord: Poems from the Disturbances of 2000 - 2009, you will find a series of poems that chronicle Cohen's experiences, feelings, and thoughts about the Second Intifada.
Most of the poems in this collection deal, to some degree with the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians, and how this often contentious relationship has impacted almost every aspect of daily life. Some of the poems are infused with anger and despair, some with love and human kindness, others with violence, and still others with the connection that Jews have to the Land of Israel. All are extremely emotional, and all will make you think. This volume includes an informative introduction by David C. Jacobson that provides a historical context to Cohen's poems and which also gives readers insights into the various poems contained in this collection, the factors that influenced Cohen's writing, and how Cohen's uses his poems as a form of social commentary and to raise his readers consciousness so as to facilitate dialog between Israelis and Palestinians.
This collection was originally published as a Hebrew-only edition entitled Shema Adonai: Mishirei Me'ora'ot 5761-5764. Now, thanks to Larry Barak's excellent translation, these poems are now accessible to an English reading audience. In this bilingual edition of Hear O Lord, you will find not only the original Hebrew text of Cohen's poems, but also, on the facing page, Barak's English translation. This dual edition is ideal for those who want to read Cohen's poems in the original Hebrew, or in translation. In addition, it is perfect for those who are learning either Hebrew or English, as you can use the text to read the poems in the language you are studying and, when necessary, refer to your original language for clarification of any words you do not understand. Most of the poems in Hebrew include nikud (vowels), although a few do not, giving those learning Hebrew practice in reading with and without vowels.
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