Fifth- and Sixth-Grade Vassar Temple Students Recreate Ancient Hebrew Poetry

Fifth- and sixth-grade Vassar Temple students studied and recreated the ancient Hanukkah poetry of Maoz Tzur. Commonly translated as “Rock of Ages,” the familiar words appear in a strict rhyming pattern. They reference the re-dedication of the Jewish Temple after Antiochus the Insane destroyed it, a path paved by Alexander the Great’s untimely death.

The students learned about the rhyming scheme and the historical background to the Hanukkah story before writing their own poems in the same pattern.

Here’s one poem, written by Bizzy, Anna, Chloe, and Mariel:

On Chanukkah we eat challah
In Temple we light the oil
They also celebrate it in Venezuela
We wrap our leftover latkes in tin foil
If you don’t they will spoil
They are made of potatoes from the soil
I love to eat gelt — but hopefully it won’t melt!
Alexander the Great was royal.

Now it’s your turn! Here’s the rhyming scheme:

— —A
— —B
— —A
— —B
— —B
— —B
—C —C
— —B

Can you use it to write a poem about Hanukkah?

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. ibritter

     /  December 5, 2014

    Well done kids and teachers!


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