Yetzirah: A Hearth for All Jewish Poets

At Yetzirah, our mission is to foster and support a community space for Jewish poets, nourishing writers and readers of Jewish poetry now and for generations to come. This is why we view diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as vital to our goals as we build the foundation of our organization.

We take guidance from the words of Alicia Ostriker, who will serve as faculty at our very first summer conference: “Jewishness is a tree of life that has so many branches and twigs, so much wildly blooming poetic history, I want to celebrate all that mycelial webbiness in the offing when the single-minded Holocaust poets meet the Marxists and the mystics and the mirth mavens. Let us honor our joys and sorrows, let us make beauty of bitterness, let us struggle against what would divide us, with the vitality of poetry.”

To this end, our DEI commitments include:

  • Making our program offerings not just open but welcoming to any poet who identifies as Jewish, with no qualifications as to who might be “Jewish enough”
  • Performing outreach to both secular groups for writers of color and to groups for Jews of color in order to spread awareness of and invitation to Yetzirah 
  • Choosing a diversity of voices for our events, highlighting the expansiveness of Jewish poetry
  • Acting as a nonpolitical space in which Jewish poets of all backgrounds and politics can come together, finding connection in the vitality of poetry
  • Welcoming poetry readers of all backgrounds and traditions to attend our online and in-person readings and events
  • At our summer conference:
    • securing accessible spaces and being attentive to the needs of our participants with disabilities
    • accommodating within the best of our abilities the needs of more religiously observant participants
  • Listening to suggestions and criticisms from our community, while committing to always looking toward how we might change for the better