Title: Songs of Ascent by Dr. Jerry Hochbaum
Poetry can elevate language in the most inspiring, insightful ways – yet it has a reputation of sometimes being arcane, stuffy, and inaccessible without a great deal of effort.
Songs of Ascent, a slim but impactful volume of poems by Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum, manages to be eloquent and profound, yet easy to understand and enjoy. Few know that Dr. Hochbaum, whose career in Jewish life spanned over four decades, is also a poet – a closeted one until now. The poems he selected for this volume, which were written over the better part of a lifetime (including many during his years of traveling the world as head of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture), contain Hochbaum’s reflections on nature, faith, and family –subjects close to his heart.
Several of the poems have Jewish subjects, but still touch on universal themes, such as freedom and unity. Above all, it is the author’s abiding optimism that shines through the pages and fills the reader’s heart. Dr. Hochbaum, who holds semicha from Yeshiva University and taught sociology there early in his career, made aliyah in 2015 after retiring from the Memorial Foundation. His love for Israel is evident in Songs of Ascent.
(CreateSpace Publishing, $10.50, available on Amazon.com)