About the Yiddish Song of the Week

Welcome to the website/blog “The Yiddish Song of the Week” presented by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance’s An-sky Jewish Folklore Research Project (AJFRP). This initiative is part of a larger effort by the AJFRP to revitalize traditional Yiddish folksinging performance and research on the subject. To that end, this website will emphasize field recordings of traditional Yiddish folksingers from around the world contributed by folklorists, ethnomusicologists, musicians, singers and collectors.

Each Yiddish song will be presented with Yiddish words and translation, along with commentary from the contributor. Since the website is a blog, we hope that each song contribution will elicit comments from others on the song itself, or on the singing style of the singer. Perhaps others will contribute a variant of the song from their recordings, etc.

A dank,
Itzik Gottesman
Director, An-sky Jewish Folklore Research Project

12 Responses to “About the Yiddish Song of the Week”

  1. Greetings Itzik G. and all. I’m in the processof uploading to FACEBOOK (and via judnewborn at POSTEROUS.COM) mp3’s of my mother’s Yiddish and other recordings, digitized by David Isay and Henry Sapoznik of the National Yiddish Radio Archive. (So far the first 3 of 15.) Mom had a program, “Rita Sorel Sings” in 1947 on WEVD NY, coming on just before Moishe Oisher. First generation daughter of Ukrainian and Polish Jewish immigrants, she learned Yiddish at their knee. Bringing togethe the artistry of a trained coloratura soprano voice with the warmth of Yiddishkeit, she began with a theme song by Abe Ellstein. The she would do another Yiddish song, an art song or aria, and a popular number. Later, in 1986, she recorded what for me seems the quintessential recording, with orchestra, of that quintessential Yiddish lullaby, Roshinkes mit Mandlin. Older Jews and Holocaust survivors weep (or wept) when they heard it…how many today would understand all that it means?
    I hope to share it with you all. ITZIK—it would be wonderful to offer the Yiddish ones to you for the Song of the Week! Otherwise it would be a shame for this voice and this chapter of Jewish Yiddish cultural experience–bridging the old world and the new–to be lost forever….

    A shaynem Dank,
    Jud Newborn, PhD
    Founding Historian/Curator, NY’s Museum of Jewish Heritage
    Special Projects Curator, Cinema Arts Centre LI
    Author, “Sophie Scholl and the White Rose” anti Nazi Resistance
    Multimedia public lecturer
    jnewbo@aol.com

    • Forgot to say–my Mom learned Yiddish songs obviously from her immigrant mother–from Kremenets. She only began her WEVD Yiddish program after she learned that all of the family left behind obviously had been mass murdered.

  2. claudine kahan Says:

    My daughter Leshu Torchin sent me Lifshe’s song today (March 2 2010) and so stirred too many memories to recount. This is a song I didn’t hear sung to me by my aunts (who sang to me as they were coming back from the camps). I was a baby then, and they stayed with us in Brussels till they were ready to go off to Palestine, to Argentine, to the US…

    Thank you for collecting these treasures and making them available to those to whom they mean so much.

  3. Ben Freiman Says:

    This archive is a wonderful idea. My father literally sang for his supper during the holocaust and would have sung these songs. He also created a song that I would like to submit to this site.

  4. Marlene Gitelman Says:

    Beautiful! I look forward to hearing more songs from your website.

  5. Shira Cion Says:

    Thank you so much for the Yiddish Song of the Week. I am checking the “notify me of new posts via email” option below. Is this the equivalent of subscribing to the Song of the Week blog? I hope so, because I don’t want to miss any posts.

  6. Hester Lox, San Francisco, California Says:

    First visit. Wow – clearly a labor of love, beautifully realized, and with so many tantalizing links! Special thanks to Pete Rushevsky for steering me here. The only feature missing seems to be the internet equivalent of a circuit breaker that will shut the site down by 2 a.m. so I will have no choice but to go to bed and get some sleep…

  7. Greetings, Itzik! (-:
    Great Yiddish project you have here!

    My name is Maksim Levinsky and I’m a Young Jewish-Israeli Yiddish Singer, studying and performing in Nekhama Lifshitz’ Artistic Yiddish Singing Workshop in Tel-aviv,Israel.

    Every once in a while i upload videos of my performances in Yiddish to my YouTube Channel.
    All of my Yiddish Singing videos can be found in in my featured Yiddish Singing Playlist.
    I thought you might find it interesting…

    Also, in that same playlist, there’s a Television Story/Report
    (Also featuring me among others) about Nekhama Lifshitz’
    Artistic Yiddish Song Workshop (I’ve added annotated English Subtitles to the video for those who don’t understand Hebrew).
    It was first aired and broadcast on friday, 07.01.2011 , on The Israeli First Channel (1), in the “Journal Of The Week” program/show, and since then, several times more.

  8. Greetings, Itzik! (-:
    Great Yiddish project you have here!

    My name is Maksim Levinsky and I’m a Young Jewish-Israeli Yiddish Singer, studying and performing in Nekhama Lifshitz’ Artistic Yiddish Singing Workshop in Tel-aviv,Israel.

    Every once in a while i upload videos of my performances in Yiddish to my YouTube Channel:

    http://YouTube.com/MaksimLevinskyMusic

    All of my Yiddish Singing videos can be found in in my featured Yiddish Singing Playlist.
    I thought you might find it interesting…

    Also, in that same playlist, there’s a Television Story/Report
    (Also featuring me among others) about Nekhama Lifshitz’
    Artistic Yiddish Song Workshop (I’ve added annotated English Subtitles to the video for those who don’t understand Hebrew).
    It was first aired and broadcast on friday, 07.01.2011 , on The Israeli First Channel (1), in the “Journal Of The Week” program/show, and since then, several times more.

    So,if any or some of my videos look/sound interesting to you, i’ll be glad to have them featured here (-:

    With Respect,
    Maksim Levinsky

  9. Rivka Augenfeld Says:

    Dear Itsik,
    Regarding your Sept. 15th 2014 song of the week, it seems to me, after listening to the recording several times, that the 4th line of the refrain with the question mark is “a folk vos zing geyt keyn mol unter” – nothing to do with “hoft”.
    Does that make sense?
    Best regards,
    Rivka Augenfeld in Montreal

  10. Interesting blog! As I’m trying to start one for my Bulgarian field research, it is very helpful for me to look at yours.

    BUT – the photograph in “Der zeyde mit der babe” Performed by Beyle Schaechter Gottesman doesn’t show up, either in Firefox or in Chrome, for me. Maybe you can fix that?

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