Haim from North Carolina (Covid Stories Part 2)


Even though saying the word gym

still seems foreign to me I dislike gyms

all those people who look like hamsters

back and forth and back and forth gym outfits

in particular the whole idea of fitness and wellness  even though

gym is not for me I belong to the JCC. Why is another

subject. One reason is  it’s around the corner

just two blocks from Fairway.  On my tour when

they opened years ago several of the other tourees asked

about the library (would there be one? yes was the answer)

and I thought that if I had to go to a gym this was the one for me.


Mostly I take yoga classes. Sometimes meditation.

For a while I had a trainer.

(a different poem.)


Because JCC stands for Jewish Community Center

and they are an odd kind of congregation this week

they called all their members to ask How

We’re All Doing.


Haim a rabbinical student called me.

He asked how he could help me out and I told him

to tell me a story. It didn’t have to be Talmudic.



OK he said

I was born in a small town in North Carolina.  A very

small town.  I was home schooled and went to UNC

and then Jerusalem.  Back and forth. Jerusalem. North

Carolina. Jerusalem. North Carolina.  And now I’m here

at the Jewish Theological Seminary. I’ll be a rabbi soon.


I liked Haim. Did he know my friend named Jacob

when he was at UNC.?  Jacob was home schooled too.

We were friends Haim said. Not good friends but friends.



Later that day I talked to Jacob. Do you remember Haim

I asked.  Jacob is just 30. He remembers everything.  Haim

he said. Tell me more.  Home schooled. Jerusalem. Becoming

a rabbi now.  Yes said Jacob. I knew him when he was Colin.

That was before he converted.  But I did hear he’s Haim now.





Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.


  1. I’m really enjoying your poems Esther, thank you. especially during this crazy scary time in our lives, I love when you talk about the JCC, thinking’ of all the wonderful yoga classes w Roxlyn and hoping and praying that we are back there very soon!! Sending love & healthy energy Cathy Goldbas

  2. Loved your vignette. Funny thing , David’s roommate at UNC was Colin! A different Colin, but pretty funny coincidence.

  3. We don’t know Haim-Colin but Jacob came for dinner about 3 weeks ago and that evening was the last time we socialized with anyone. Jacob is a poem himself. We see people on Zoom and FaceTime now, not nearly as fun as having Jacob over for dinner!

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