CLAL Faculty 

Janet R. Kirchheimer

Janet R. Kirchheimer is a poet whose work has appeared in a variety of publications both in the U.S. and abroad. Her moving collection of poems about the Holocaust, How To Spot One Of Us (2007) received endorsements from Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, Sir Martin Gilbert, and Rabbis Harold Kushner and Irving "Yitz" Greenberg (Chairman Emeritus of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council), as well as renowned poets Mary Stewart Hammond, Yerra Sugarman, and Jeanne Marie Beaumont, and a selection was translated into Russian. In 2007, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and in 2010, received a Citation for her work from The Council of The City of New York.

Janet’s work has appeared in journals including Atlanta Review, Potomac Review, Limestone, Connecticut Review, Kalliope, Common Ground Review, on and, among others. A recipient of a Drisha Institute for Jewish Education Arts Fellowship for 2006-2007, she was a semi-finalist in the "Discovery"/The Nation contest, a finalist in the Portlandia Chapbook contest, and first runner up in the Concrete Wolf Chapbook contest (2006). A finalist in the Small Poetry Press 2004 Select Poets Series chapbook contest, her essay "Make Your Selection, Please" was a Jewish Telegraphic Agency feature article for Yom HaShoah, and her essay, "Kristallnacht: How Will We Remember?" was a special feature in The New York Jewish Week in 2009. A popular speaker, she has appeared on radio programs around the country.

Janet has given several readings and taught at a variety of locales including the ADL/Hidden Child Foundation, YMCA Men’s Club, Brooklyn and Queens Public Libraries, the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies, the JCC in Manhattan and Washington D.C., Words of Bonds, Hadassah, FEG’s LEAD Program, Poet’s House, Cornelia Street Cafe, Teachers and Writers, Makor, the Bowery Poetry Club, and various synagogues. As part of a 2009 Multi-National Forces Days of Remembrance Holocaust Memorial Service, she helped design the service, video-taped a reading shown at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq, and judged a poetry contest for soldiers. In 2009, she also spoke to close to 500 fifth and sixth graders from the Yonkers public school system as part of Holocaust Remembrance Week and to over 200 high school students at the Westover School for their annual Holocaust memorial service.

Janet is a member of Chevrah Kadishah (the ritual preparation for Jewish burial), as are her parents. Through this experience, as with her poems, she has been able to transform her family’s pain into a moving tribute. "So many members of my family never had a burial and, as the daughter of survivors, the opportunity to give someone a proper Jewish burial is a great honor for me."

A Teaching Fellow at Clal–The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, Janet conducts leadership development seminars, text study classes, and workshops in which adults and teens explore their Judaism through creative writing and poetry. She also leads a "Poetry Shmooze" in which participants read and discuss Jewish–themed poems. To bring Janet to your community, phone: 212-779-3300 x111, or email:


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