What is Chai-ku, you ask? We’ll tell you! It’s haiku with a Jewish theme and it helps fulfill our mission to not only create and share books with Jewish themes for kids, but to encourage kids and adults to write with Jewish themes.

2021 Winners

GRAND PRIZE WINNERS – Harriet Wolpoff’s grandchildren

Aviva, 9 years old
San Diego, California

Looking down on earth
Holy one that makes us breathe
Thank you Adonai.

Milo, 12 years old
San Diego, California

Friday night is here
Candles, grape juice, challah 
To bless the Shabbat.


Charlotte, 9 years old

help repair the world
care for the earth, plant a tree
Shomrei Adamah

Carol Dorf
Berkeley, California

This — orchids spilling
Over their small pot — turning
Aside my complaint

Pesach Rotem
Yodfat, Israel (Lower Galilee)

I made a promise
and now, with no excuses,
I will keep my word.

Cantor Seth Ettinger
Scottsdale, Arizona

As Abraham said,
“Friends, sit down, eat bread and rest.”
Then he washed their feet.

Larry Lefkowitz
Modiin, Israel

framed in a window
fur-hatted men are singing
“Farewell, Sabbath Queen”

Carol Coven
Grannick, Illinois

Light sizzles and snaps
Undone chores fade—Shabbat!
Still, bright, inviting.

Marjorie Kutner-Greenberg
Watertown, Massachusetts

davening Minyan
members pray, then schmooze over
Kosher Kiddush booze


2020 Winners!

Read the article in Forward
See the slide show in Tablet (scroll down to the bottom right)

The Book Meshuggenahs are proud to announce the winners of the 1st Annual Book Meshuggenahs’ Chai-ku Contest! Our resident chai-ku expert, Book Meshuggenah Amy Losak, the editor of H is For Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z by her late mother, Sydell Rosenberg (illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi, Penny Candy Books), sifted through entries from around the country. Here are this year’s winners and their winning chai-ku. Each received a certificate and a personally autographed book by one of our Book Meshuggenahs.

Beth Dwoskin
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Our voices abound
Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino
What song shall we sing?

Joshua Gage
Pepper Pike, Ohio

Tu B’Shevat
the warmth of the soil
as I press the seed

Marcie Wessels
San Diego, California

the crack in your voice,
as you hold the Torah high,
glimpse of man to be

Cantor Eric Schulmiller
Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore
Plandome, New York

The toughest question
At the Passover Table:
What’s gefilte fish??

Benjamin Wexler
Tucson, Arizona

The Afikoman
Kids are searching all around
What a nice surprise!

Christine Catalogna’s second grade class at Florence Mandel Jewish Day School in Beachwood, Ohio participated in the First Annual Book Meshuggenah’s Chai-ku Contest.
Click here to see their chai-ku.