literary magazine of the san diego jewish academy's upper school

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Jarrod Goldberg, Grade 8

It is art that makes life,

makes interest,

makes importance,

and I know of no substitute

for the force and beauty

of its process.

Henry James


Welcome to "18", the inaugural issue of the San Diego Jewish Academy's Upper School literary magazine.

"18", chai, reflects our travels through various stages of life and chronicles how we choose to express ourselves during the journey. We hope you enjoy listening to our voices.

The meaning of 18.

Contributors and work(s)

Raquel Basser, Grade 9 - Blond with Blue Eyes

Elona Brage, Grade 6 - Fly Free Like a Bird

Ariel Diamond, 11th Grade - Bubbles as Thoughts -
Holocaust Man

Jarrod Goldberg, Grade 8 - Collage -
Pastel Triangles

Sheldon Goldman, Staff - Soldier at the Wall -
Clown Show

Rachel Grozen-Smith, Grade 8 - Did you ever wonder why I blast my music all the time?

Jesse Farquhar, Grade 8 - Never Ending War

Rachal Felber, Grade 10 - Profile

Matthew Feldman, Grade 8 - Lemon Juggling -

Scott Fox, 11th Grade - Condensed Thoughts -

Elizabeth Kreymer, Grade 6 - Princess

Ilan Levin, Grade 11 - The Edge

Melissa McKinstry, Staff - "Falling Man" - After Selma Waldman's work of the same name -
The Red Wing - Thank you

Megan Marcus, Grade 10 - Innocence -
Starry Night

Giuliette Recht, Grade 9 - My Protective Wall

Linda Rosenberg, Staff - The Green Boots - Published in Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul

Aviva Saad, Staff - Grand Canyon

Special Thanks to the
WriteDesign magazine team
Ariel Diamond, Matthew Feldman, Scott Fox,
Maya Lifton, Megan Marcus,
Joram Nunez, and Haim Shechtman

Aviva Saad, Staff


Megan Marcus, Grade 10

ThE fIrSt BoMbArDmEnT sHoWeD Us OuR mIstAkE
The world as they had taught it to us broke in pieces
We CuRsEd ThRoUgH tHe SlUdGe
Recognized that our generation was more to be trusted than theirs.
We LiMp oN, dRuNk WiTh fAtIgUe
Recognized that what matters is not the mind but the boot brush.
KnOcK kNeEd, CoUgHiNg LiKe HaGs
Not intelligence but the system.
An EcTaCy Of FuMbLiNg
Not freedom but the drill.
TrEnChEs, MiNeS, aNd BaRbEd WiRe
We are not youth any longer.
ShElL-sHoCkEd, EmBiTtErEd, AnD pRoFoUnDlY dIsIlLuSiOnEd
The war has ruined us for everything
We don’t want to take the world by storm
We BecOmE oN tHe iNsTaNt HuMaN aNiMaLs
We have lost all feeling.
ThE tHuNdEr Of ThE gUnS sWeLl.
We are indifferent
ThE eArTh BuRsTs BeFoRe Us
We are forlorn like children
THe DuG oUt cRaCkS iN aLl ItS JoInTs
Experienced like old men
HanD gReNaDeS FlY ThRoUgH ThE AiR
We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world and
wE HaD tO sHoOt It To PiEeCes
We believe in such things no longer
HUrLiNg HeApS Of eXpLoSiVeS aT ThE fEeT Of tHe AdVaNcInG EnEmY
We believe in war.
ThE eArTh sHuDdErS, It cRaShEs, sMoKeS AnD GrOaNs
We are crude and sorrowful and superficial

LifE iS At An EnD

Ariel Diamond, Grade 11


Jarrod Goldberg - Grade 8

Did you ever wonder why I blast my music all the time?
Rachel Grozen-Smith, Grade 8

Did you ever wonder why I blast my music all the time?
Why I can’t listen to the music at a normal level,
Use it as a background in life?
I don’t use music like you do.
I use it to block out life, not add to it.
I can’t stand life as it is, not mine.
I use the music to change it
To block out people
And thoughts
And memories
And responsibilities
I use it to concentrate on,
So that I can pause this constant flow of tears
Call me overly poetic or whatever you want
That’s why I do it.
So I’m sorry I may distract you from your happy life of smiles
And I’m sorry I may wake you up in the morning
Or keep you up at night.
I’m sorry I can’t stand your upbeat, party tunes.
They just remind me of all the parties I don’t go to.
They just remind me of who I am
And why I have to block myself out with blasting music.


My Protective Wall
Giuliette Recht, Grade 9

“Hitler is a genius,” he says.
“they should all be annihilated,” he says.
Am I hearing right?
How do I handle this situation?
Maybe if I didn’t have such a protective wall surrounding me all the time
I’d know.
I've never realized how much segregation still exists in the world.
It’s funny how the first time I’m out in the world alone,
I experience it,
First Hand,
So sheltered,
So secluded from reality; maybe if I could be prepared it wouldn’t be such a
They think that by secluding me
I will be protected.
I can’t be protected forever.

Sheldon Goldman, Staff


Sheldon Goldman, Staff

Lemon Juggling
Matthew Feldman, Grade 8

it only takes
three to toss
but one to






higher they go


mini yellow suns
flying across
a blue sky

especially on hot
days they taste
like opening a long
awaited letter

but never alone
do not try one alone
they are too sour alone

then one returned to the ground
lemonade will be served now

The Green Boots
Linda Rosenberg, Staff - Published in Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul

Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got. - Janis Joplin

On Monday morning I wore my green platform boots to school for the first time since I had started at Edison Middle School.

It was the day of the poetry festival, and I was excited. At my old school, I had won the poetry ribbon every year. I'm horrible at sports, too shy to be popular and I'm not cute - but I do write good poetry.

The poem I wrote for the Edison Festival was about my dad. I had a good felling about sharing how special he was to me, even if it was just with the fifth grade and Mrs. Baker.

English class was not until after lunch period on Mondays, so by the time we started poetry, I was so nervous my mouth was dry as toast. When Mrs. Baker called on me, I had to clear my throat, take a breath and swallow about ten times before I could speak. I didn't even bother to look at my paper. I'd spent so much time perfecting the rhymes, and counting the beats, that I knew the poem by heart.

I had just started the third verse when I noticed Mrs. Baker was glaring furiously at me. I stopped in the middle of a word and waited for her to say something.

"Linda, you are supposed to be reading an original work, a poem you made up yourself, not reciting something you learned. That is called plagiarism!"

"Oh, but it's not. I mean…I did make it up; it's about my dad." I heard a "Yeah, right!" from somewhere behind me, and someone else giggled.

I felt as if I'd somersaulted off the high dive and then, in midair, realized that there was no water in the pool. I opened my mouth to explain, but no words came out.

"You will leave the room and will not return until you are ready to apologize," said Mrs. Baker. "Now. Go!"

My last thought was a flash of understanding as to why the kids had nicknamed her "Battle-Ax Baker" - then my brain just fizzled out, and I turned and left the room.

I'd been standing outside for about half an hour when Joseph, the school janitor, came over to ask me what heinous crime I'd committed to be banished for so long. He loved using unusual words.

We'd made friends one morning before school, when he saw me sitting alone, pretending to do homework. He invited me to help open up the classrooms, and after that, it sort of became my job. He always talked to me as we wiped down the chalkboards and turned on the heat. Just that morning he'd been telling me that Mark Twain once said that the difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. I liked that. My dad would have liked it, too.

Now as Joseph waited for me to answer, he looked so kind and sympathetic that I poured out the whole story, trying not to cry. A tightness flashed over his face, and he jerked an enormous yellow duster out of the pocket of his gray overalls. "So what are you going to do?" he asked, rolling up the duster into a tight ball.

I shrugged, feeling helpless and sad. "I don't know."

"Well, you are not going to stand here all day, are you?"

I sighed. "I suppose I'll do what she said. You know…say I'm sorry."

"You'll apologize?"

I nodded. "What else can I do? It's no big deal. I'll just never write anything good in her class again."

He looked disappointed with my response, so I shrugged once more and turned away from him.

"Linda." The tone of his voice forced me to look back. "Accepting defeat, when you should stand up for yourself, can become a very dangerous habit." He twisted the duster around his fingers. "Believe me. I know!"

He was staring right into my eyes. I blinked and looked down. His eyes followed mine, and we both noticed my green boots at the same time. Suddenly his face relaxed and creased into a huge smile. He chuckled and said, "You're going to be just fine. I don't have to worry about you. When you put on those boots this morning, you knew you were the only Linda Brown in the whole world." As if he didn't need it anymore, he cheerfully dropped the duster back into his pocket and folded his arms across his chest. "Those are the boots of someone who can take care of herself and knows when something is worth fighting for."

His eyes, smiling into mine, woke up a part of me that had been asleep since I'd come to this school, and I know that he was right about me. I'd just lost direction for a while. I took a deep breath and knocked on the classroom door, ready to face Mrs. Baker - ready to recite my poem.


Elizabeth Kreymer, Grade 6

Bubbles as Thoughts
Ariel Diamond, 11th Grade

I think of bubbles
how they are formed from water,
gas up and expand
into beautiful three-dimensional glasses,
bop around, expand and contract
until the air wisps through them
and kisses them on each
curvature on their body,
the bubbles break into a gasp of freshness
and their molecules cling to the atmosphere.
Just like a bubble,
my thoughts are formed and they expand
and contract and break all into a new thought.
My thoughts are curved and grand and miniature,
never flowing into the air on a stream line.


Mountain -
Scott Fox, 11th Grade

If Life is a Mountain

If life is a mountain upon which we climb...

Stupidity is wondering why you’re not in front,

Retardation is making the journey with no legs,

And Righteousness is staying behind, to help someone walk on their hands.

Megan Marcus, Grade 10


Rachal Felber, Grade 10

The Red Wing
Melissa McKinstry, Staff

The red wing
of her hair
the black collar
of her overcoat
made me say
a simple, silent prayer.

She seemed a singular
exclamation of black
against the grainy white

Songful, her rocking heels
clicking portents:
good and evil,
good and evil.

I looked away.
When I looked back
she had been kidnapped,
a red feather
nested in the cracked sidewalk.


Condensed Thoughts
Scott Fox, 11th Grade

“Insanity brings those who would fight to art, and stupidity brings those who would fight to violence.”

“A flower’s fragrance is not as great when taken out of the field or when returned to.”

“Tell problems but be solutions.”

“G-d is, was, and will be. Beauty is, Wisdom was, and Action will be.”

“If a man is a circle, the Earth is a sphere.”

Ilan Levin, Grade 11


Melissa McKinstry, Staff
After Selma Waldman’s “Falling Man”

Never Ending War
Jesse Farquhar, Grade 8

There is a war that’s all around the world.
There is a war that not every one really sees.
It’s about a certain country;
It’s for a simple piece of land,
Where many people like to go.
It has always been fought over.
For what? No one really knows.

Is it for God?

Is it for power?

Or is it just for war?


Right now there are many people that live in this country.
There are also many people who will do anything to get this country.
They say they want peace, but they want violence.
These people are taught to hate.
The hate turns to anger,
And the anger leads to war.
This land is supposed to be the land of hope,
“Land of peace.”
It has turned into the land of hate, tears and controversy.
It’s a land that belongs to God.
It was a land promised by God.
But this land will never have peace,
From the Never Ending War.


Fly Free Like a Bird
Elona Brage, Grade 6

Fly free like a bird
Do not serve under those who rule harshly
Help those who need help
And enjoy green veggies like parsley
Fly and hear the freedom ring
Hear from below the fair maiden sing
Sail the seas and the land roam
Go back to the place you call home
Back to those books, stuff, and bed made for me
But that is not home!
Go home to your mother's arms
Protect her from those who harm
Back to your music loving father
Who has always been help, not bother
Back to your chatting sister
Who laughs, sings, smiles, and makes merry
Back to two dogs who live with you yet
Both named of food but is a pet
Sweet pea the long bodied survivor
Barley the silent and the sweet
May I repeat?
Go back to the home
The special place
In your heart lays with grace
The family you know
Who stays and will never go!

Raquel Basser, Grade 9

Matthew Feldman, Grade 8

the door opened
the last hugs occurred
the fresh air through my hair

the steps were not easy
i was scared of what would come next
the door opened
but i could not leave

as i stood at the threshold of a brand new day
the old turned to dusk
i could not walk into the fresh rays
too much would be lost

a foot move forward
a heart slid back
nine years of sitting
make feet content to rest

the steps were taken
changes made
no more academy days

a number is my value
an equation is my head
another of a bland thousand
that are just bred

no more prayers
meat in my lunch
things happen too fast
can not go back


Melissa McKinstry, Staff

Thank you
for listening to
our voices.

The meaning of 18
According to an interpretation of the Kabbalah, the tzadik is the eighteenth letter of the alef-beit, the gematria of chai, "life," thus symbolizing the power to enliven the fallen sparks (

In Hebrew, each letter possesses a numerical value. Gematria is the calculation of the numerical equivalence of letters, words, or phrases, and, on that basis, gaining, insight into interrelation of different concepts and exploring the interrelationship between words and ideas. (


Site Map | Gallery | E-Mail Doug at and he will pass your comments on to the appropriate individuals.