Archive for Bety Albert Schreck

“Kinderland, du tsoyberland” Performed by Gerry Tenney

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2021 by yiddishsong

Kinderland, du tsoyberland / Kinderland, You Magical Land 
A Yiddish summer camp hymn 
Music: Albert Bitter, Words: M.A. Suhl (Yuri Suhl, 1908 – 1986) 
Sung & Recorded by Gerry Tenney, May 2021  

Gerry Tenney

(Spoken)  
Eyns, tsvey, dray, fir                       One, two, three, four 

Kinderland, du tsoyberland.   Kinderland, you magical land 
Unter himlen fraye.                        Under the open skies 
Mir kumen zikh do opruen,          We come here to rest,            
Shtarkn un banayen.                    To be strengthened and renewed. 
Oy, kinder, kinder, kinderland.      Oy, children, children, children –land 
Far kinder a gan-eydn                  For children it’s a paradise.  
Mir shpiln zikh, mir lernen zikh.  We play, we learn 
Mir lebn do in freydn.                   We live here peacefully 
Oy, kinder, kinder, kinderland       Oy, children, children, children-land 
Far kinder a gan-eydn                  For children, it’s a paradise.  
Mir shpil zikh, mir lernen zikh.    We play, we learn. 
Mir lebn do in freydn.                   We live here peacefully 

There is second verse to this song, which according to Tenney was rarely sung.  

Mit zun un feld un fraye nakht.      With sun and field and free nights 
Du bist undz azoy tayer                  You are so dear to us.  
Freylekh munter zingt dos lid         Happy, boldy sing this song, 
An arbets lid a nayer                       a labor song, a new one.           

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

Camp Kinderland is a summer camp, today in Tolland, Massachusets. It was founded in 1923 in New York by leftist unions. Several generations of Jewish children from NY and surrounding regions were raised there with a love for Yiddish song and culture. Kinderland has evolved since then and here is the current link to the camp.

A link to the songbook of Kinderland, 1954, which includes the Yiddish and English transcription of this and many other songs can be found here. We hope to present more recordings from this songbook.   

Gerry Tenney is a leading figure in the Yiddish cultural world in the Bay area. He writes about himself: 

I was born in a Yinglish speaking family in the Bronx. Yiddish  was all around me as we lived in the same building as my bubi and zeydi. Although I was not raised in linke krayzn [leftist circles], I found my way there in the late fifties and early sixties. I graduated from the Hekherer Kursn [high school level] and taught in the elementar shuln in Queens. From 1963 -1968 I was a counsellor and group leader at Camp Kinderland. I have  remained active in camp activities and went back there to teach music many times. My son Noah also attended camp. In California I was the co-founder of East Bay Kindershul, leader of California Klezmer, and the President of KlezCalifornia. I am currently working on the Beregovski translation project.

We would add to this short bio, that Tenney together with Betty Albert-Shreck produced a popular Yiddish recording for children “Let’s Sing a Yiddish Song/Lomir zingen a yidish lid.” 

This is one of three Camp Kinderland hymns according to Tenney, and though there is at least one recording with a second verse, Tenney remembers only singing one.  Bitter and Suhl also together composed the humorous children’s song “Poyzn ayvi” [ Poison Ivy] which can be heard on the recording “Let’s Sing a Yiddish Song” 

You can hear other Kinderland alumni sing the song at this link

We invite readers of the blog to send in recordings of songs from their Yiddish camps. There are many that have never been recorded and are unknown to the larger Yiddish world.