Pictures / Reproductions by Rabbi Haim Otto Rechnitzer, Ph.D.
HUC-JIR is pleased to announce that Rabbi Haim Otto Rechnitzer, Ph.D., Professor of Jewish Thought, has published a bilingual book of original poetry: תמונות / רפרודוקציות – Pictures / Reproductions. The publication offers an invitation to listen within a theater where languages mingle, illustrate, plow, and shift the furrows of the poems. This is his third poetry book and his first bilingual one.
In Pictures / Reproductions, the demarcations that exist between animate and inanimate, the present and our memories, and even space and time, become a playground for the reader’s imagination. All the poems in this book were collaboratively translated from Hebrew to English by Rabbi Rechnitzer’s wife, Claire.
Rabbi Haim says: “After my two previous poetry books, Songs of the Third Exile (2014) and Shibolet (2015), were published exclusively in Hebrew, I found myself translating some of the poems for English-speaking readers. The experience of translating the poems intensified the feeling that my home is ‘here-there’ and not ‘here or there.’ I decided to write my third book in both languages so that I can reach bilingual or either-language readers.
I live between cultures and between languages. Not a life ‘in-between,’ but life in its fullness in Hebrew-English. And in fact, a lot of my research has involved translating the works of other modern Hebrew poets. I felt it was time to do the same for my own work. I hope that readers of this book will note and enjoy the way Hebrew poetry is often characterized by references to and reflections on an array of Jewish texts from the Bible, Talmud, Midrash, Kabbalah, Piyyut, and more. As apparent in my poetry and my research, this modern Hebrew poetry creates an enriching culture deeply woven with tradition.”
Rabbi Rechnitzer shares a poem from the book:
And Where I Lodge
Clods of earth, furrowed desert and wind
gathers up grains
of fine sand whistling and rolling between the rows
it is no longer scorching and one can take off a shoe
to let the soil crumble between the toes
even if here or there a summer memory pierces
yet the sun is lower now all along the field
and shortly evening comes and I must turn
back towards the houses for after all I am
a townmouse-kid that came to play in
open fields and heart’s longing
for the kiss I did not give her
behind the threshing floor
amongst the ripe grains.
Pictures / Reproductions was published by Carmel-Yediot Aharonot Press, Jerusalem, copyright December 2022.
The book can be purchased here, or by contacting Rabbi Rechnitzer as he has limited copies.