“I work at this Senior’s residence 3 times a week. Once a week I lead a sing-a-long, mostly Yiddish songs, with full participation of the audience. This group appreciates seeing a younger person keeping Yiddish alive. The songs bring back fond memories, and singing them gives them a chance to use the language. It is both nostalgic and heartwarming for many who haven’t used or spoken Yiddish in many years.”
“Are there any songs that are special to you?”
“Many people think that most Yiddish songs are sad. While many are, there are also many happy songs as well as fun and beautiful love songs. These songs are not as graphic as the love songs of today, but what may even be sexier, is that they are suggestive. The songs were written at a period of the Haskaklah (Jewish Enlightenment), when secular Yiddish writers were embracing the theme of love, a topic until then, taboo. These songs are truly amazing. One of the songs sings about a girl who gives her boyfriend, a roll, a piece of fish and wine, but won’t say what else she gives. A second song sings of a girl who is sewing on a bench near the warm oven. Along comes a guy, and flirts with her. Before you know there are two sitting together, neither knitting, nor sewing! My audience is comprised of seniors in their late eighties and well into their nineties. I enjoy watching the twinkle in their eyes and smiles as they react to these, and many other songs.”
אויפן אויוון זיצן צווייען…ניט זיי העפטן, ניט זיי נייען.
Oyfn oyvn zitsn tvayen… nit zey heftn, nit zey neyen!
Two are sitting by the fire… neither knitting nor sewing.
זי גיט מיר וויין, זי גיט מיר פיש…און וואס ווייטער זאג איך נישט.
Zi git mir vayn, zi git mir fish… un vos vayter zog ikh nisht!
She gives me wine and fish, but I will not tell you what else she gives!