2024 Yetzirah Jewish Poetry Conference

Offsite Generative Workshops with Hila Ratzabi

These generative workshops will take place in Asheville during this year’s Jewish Poetry Conference, leaving your afternoons and evenings free to attend the conference’s public events.

Open to people with all levels of writing experience.

Tuesday, July 2: 9 am-11:50am

Writing the Earth’s Torah
The Jewish literary and liturgical canons are filled with images of nature as a living expression of the Divine. We will read translations of Jewish prayers alongside contemporary Jewish poetry that give voice to the language of nature. We will then engage in writing exercises that invite us to tune into the earth around us and hear its call.

Wednesday, July 3: 9 am-11:50am

Living Letters: Writing Jewish Mystical Poetry
The Jewish mystical tradition sees the Hebrew alphabet as the building blocks of the universe. Language is a potent, alchemical tool of creation. We will read translations of texts from the Jewish mystical tradition alongside modern and contemporary poetry to inspire our own linguistic experiments. 

Friday, July 5: 9 am-11:50am

Seeking Peace through Poetry: Reading Palestinian and Israeli Poets
During this deeply painful time of war, poetry can help us pick up the broken pieces of our world. We will read Palestinian and Israeli poets who express the human cost of war, the heartbreak of loss, and the longing for home. Among the poets we will read and discuss are Mosab Abu Toha, a Gazan poet who has suffered greatly during this war, and Amiram Cooper, an Israeli poet who was taken hostage from Kibbutz Nir Oz and died in captivity. We will engage in writing exercises that offer space to contemplate our own relationships to this fraught moment.

Ways to Join Us

Workshop Fees

  • $18 per individual workshop
  • $50 for all three

*As we want all of our events to be accessible, there will a pay-what-you can option if these fees are a hardship.

*the exact event location, which will be close to UNCA’s campus, will be sent to registered participants.

Instructor Bio

Hila Ratzabi is the author of There Are Still Woods (June Road Press, 2022), which won a gold Nautilus Book Award and was a finalist for a National Indie Excellence Award. Her poetry has been published widely in literary journals and in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry and Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, a BA in English/Creative Writing from Barnard College, and a BA in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Ratzabi regularly offers poetry workshops, has presented panels at the AWP writing conference and elsewhere, and has served as a curator of multiple reading series and as editor-in-chief of the literary journal Storyscape. From 2015–2023, she ran Ritualwell.org, publishing innovative Jewish rituals, poetry, and liturgy and curating online learning experiences. She is currently director of communications at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Illinois, and lives in Oak Park outside Chicago. Learn more about Hila in Yetzirah’s Discover Jewish Poets database.