Today is December 6, 2013 - 3 Tevet 5774
of Westport, Weston and Wilton
30 Hillspoint Road · Westport, CT 06880
Phone: (203) 454-4673 · Fax: (203) 454-8888
Notes from our Cantor
Posted on May 03, 2013
Patshe, patshe kikhelekh – - Der tate vet koyfn shikhelekh
Shikhelekh vet er koyfn – - Un in kheyder vet dos kind loyfin!
You may recognize this Yiddish rhyme as a child’s handclapping song, a sort of Yiddish Pattycake. The words bring to mind warm memories of my grandmother reciting them with my young cousin on her knee. They loosely translate to Clap hands! Your daddy will buy you shoes, and you will run to kheyder!
Since the destruction of European Jewry, Yiddish is spoken in relatively few circles these days. We turn to it, however, when we want to add a zetz or some shmaltz to our language, knowing that a bissele Yiddish often provides just the right flavor.
In recent years, Yiddish culture has received growing interest – at universities, in seminars, and on concert repertories. (At a June 2nd cantors’ concert at Temple Beth El in Stamford, I plan to offer Yiddish among my song selections.) If we’re fortunate, we have sweet memories of a Yiddish lullaby (Oyfn Pripetshik), or folksong (Tumbalalaika), but our heritage also includes wonderful theatre songs (Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn) and art songs (Der Yid Mitl Fidl). There is Yiddish music to express the entire spectrum of Jewish experience – from courtship, love, celebration, family relationship, and loss, to reflections on war, heroism, social and political movements, and the struggle against oppression.
So when searching for the perfect song to offer at our “Cocktails and Comedy” spring fundraiser, I turned to Yiddish for just the right flavor. Made famous by the Barry Sisters, Yoh, Mein Tiere (Liebe) Tochter is a song about a young girl who asks her mother if she can go out dancing. “Yes, my darling daughter!” is the answer. To this swing beat I wrote seven retrospective stanzas about my ten years serving this community. It began:
Ten years ago I came to Westport
to sing and teach and daven.
And since that time I’ve made my home here,
a home that I’ve been lovin’.
We’ve shared our sad times and our sweetest times –
weddings, shivas, and the brisses,
And more b’nei mitzvah than believed –
500, with no misses!
Beth Rand, Jen Frank, and their committee created such a joyous, successful, and heymische event! I was so touched to be your guest of honor, and by the warm sentiments that you expressed aloud, in song, and in the journal, poster, and cards. You made me kvell! It has been a great privilege to serve this congregation for the last decade, and your clear confirmation that my work in our community makes a lasting impact is the most satisfying distinction of all.
My final stanza was a tribute to all of you for ten years of song and memories and all we have to celebrate:
Thanks to our staff and professional team,
our tutors, and congregation.
The Rabbi, board, & presidents,
and all of you who made this celebration.
Let’s join the Chorale and show how
TCS knows how to get hearts ringing….
Thank you all, now raise a glass (l’chaim!),
and let’s always go on singing!
A shaynem dank! Many thanks!
Cantor Laura Berman