In honor of Israeli Independence Day and Jewish Heritage Month, here is part of a poem by Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000) - considered by many to be one of Israel's greatest modern poets.
The Amen Stone
By Yehuda Amichai
Translated by Chana Bloch
On my desk there is a stone with the word “Amen” on it,
a triangular fragment of stone from a Jewish graveyard destroyed
many generations ago. The other fragments, hundreds upon hundreds,
were scattered helter-skelter, and a great yearning,
a longing without end, fills them all:
first name in search of family name, date of death seeks
dead man’s birthplace, son’s name wishes to locate
name of father, date of birth seeks reunion with soul
that wishes to rest in peace. And until they have found
one another, they will not find a perfect rest.
Only this stone lies calmly on my desk and says “Amen.”
The rest of the poem