Ricky Friesem

b. 1936

Current City, State, Country

Rehovot, Israel

Birth City, State, Country

Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Ricky Rapoport Friesem is a Canadian by birth, an Israeli by choice, and a writer by destiny. After immigrating to Israel with her physicist husband and 3 sons in 1972, she worked for 25 years as a journalist, filmmaker and ultimately, Head of the Communications Department of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science. Her stories, poems and essays have appeared in publications such as Popshot, Moment, Tiferet, Muddy River Poetry Review, Jewish Daily Forward and the Anthology of Israeli Short Stories and Jewish Fiction online. She has published six collections in English: Parentheses, Laissez-Passer ,My Intifada, Reality Check, Gimme Shelter and Mumbai Luck which won the Dallas Poets Community 2015 Chapbook Competition. Two collections of her poetry, translated into Hebrew, Mekurka’at, and Miklat,j were published by Beit Eked in 2013 and 2020. In 2023 she published her first Children’s Book, in Hebrew, Rubi Oseh Balagan.

Her citations and awards include First Place in the 2017 and 2020 Reuben Rose Memorial International Poetry Competition, First Place in Tiferet magazine’s 2018 Non-Fiction Contest, First Place in Woman in Judaism online and Finalist in the 2016 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards, Jewish Currents Raynes Poetry Competition, and Honorable mention in Lilith’s 2007 Charlotte Newberger Poetry Contest. In 2010, she was named International Senior Poet Laureate by the Amy Kitchener Foundation of America.

Ricky Rapoport Friesem was raised in a secular/traditional Jewish home in Toronto Canada. Her father was a Jewish educator and  Yiddish journalist, her mother, a Yiddish teacher, her grandfather, a Rabbi, Talmud scholar and essayist. She and her family now live on the campus of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. She has 3 sons, 12 grandchildren, five great grandchildren and a cat named ‘Katz.’

What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?

Jewish culture and Judaism permeates my life and my writing. It is the reason I came to Israel, it is the reason I write, it is the engine that powers my life. It is inextricably fused with what I was, I am, I want to be. I grew up in a household where Judaism was not a ritual, it was way of life, constantly being re-examined, fine-tuned. The Holocaust tragedy hung over our lives. My parents were the only ones in their immediate families who left Europe before the Second World War and survived. They were intellectuals, struggling to create new traditions that embraced the old yet sought to create a new, secular way of life and Jewish community. This complex Jewish past is reflected in much of what I write.

Published Works

Mumbai Luck (The Dallas Community Chapbook Series, 2014)
Parentheses (Kipod Press, 2006)
My Intifada (Pudding House Press, 2005)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works


Harbord Collegiate High School, Toronto—Valedictorian
University of Toronto, B.A. in Journalism and Sociology
University of Michigan, M.A. in Library Science

Languages of Publication(s) and Poets Translated


Subject Matter