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.

Spring 2021 Chai-ku Contest

We invite you to enter your haiku that captures a Jewish value: Chai-ku! Values like EMUNAH, trustworthiness; KAVOD, respect; ACHRAYUT, responsibility; as well as TZEDEK, fairness; CHESED, caring and kindness; and SHOMREI ADAMAH, keeping and repairing the world, honoring our commitments and uniting us, even when we cannot be together.

Email your entries to
The deadline is May 31.
We will announce all the winners after the contest closes. Each winner will receive a certificate and one of these prizes:

Grand Prize (in the U.S. only)
The Polio Pioneer, by Linda Elovitz Marshall
Say Hello, Lily, by Deborah Lakritz
Do It Jewish, Use Your Jewish Creativity, by Barbara Bietz
Baby’s Blessings, by Leslea Newman
The Klezmer Bunch, by Amalia Hoffman
Creation Colors, by Ann Koffsky
Just Like Rube Goldberg, by Sarah Aronson
H is for Haiku, by Sydell Rosenberg
Sadie’s Shabbat Stories by Melissa Stoller
Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing, by Nancy Churnin. 

Second Prizes (anywhere in the world)
Virtual Book Reading from one of these Book Meshugennahs:
Rachelle Burk, Chana Stiefel, Deborah Lakritz, Sarah Aronson, Nancy Churnin, Karen Rostoker-Gruber, Linda Elovitz Marshall, and Lisa Rose.

Also, with written permission from a parent or guardian, we will celebrate your Chai-ku on our site, Facebook and Twitter.

Spring 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.