A Mizmer

A Mizmer
אַ מיזמור
Illustration of musical notes from the books


The birds are young
In the ancient land.
God saw fit to plant a tree there
With his right hand.
A tree grows green in the desert
Green! — it’s a miracle!
And there a bird sings psalms and hymns
Three times a day

Who knows one
I know one
God is unique, above everything
Who knows one.

Yung zaynen di feygl
In dem altn land
Got hot dort a boym geflantst
Mit zayn rekhter hant.
Grint a boym in mitn midber
Grint — dos iz a nes
Un a foygl zingt dort shire
Dray mol a mesles.

Ekhod mi yodeya
Ekhod ani yodeya
Got iz eyntsik iber al
Ekhod mi yodeya.

יונג זײַנען די פֿײגל
אין דעם אַלטן לאַנד
גאָט האָט דאָרט אַ בױם געפֿלאַנצט
מיט זײַן רעכטער האַנט.
גרינט אַ בױם אין מיטן מדבר
גרינט — דאָס איז אַ נס
און אַ פֿױגל זינגט דאָרט שירה
דרײַ מאָל אַ מעת־לעת.

אחד מי יודע
אחד אַני יודע
גאָט איז אײנציק איבעראַל.
אחד מי יודע.

Song Title: A Mizmer

Composer: Malke Gottlieb
Composer’s Yiddish Name: מלכּה גאָטליב
Lyricist: Kadya Molodovsky
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: קאַדיע מאָלאָדאָװסקי
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Yontefdike Jeg Song Book Cover

Yontefdike Teg: Song Book for the Yiddish Holidays

Written by Chana Mlotek and her sister Malke Gottleib, Yontefdike Teg, a holiday songbook, was originally dedicated to Aaron Fishman, a beloved Yiddish educator, whose devotion to Yiddish culture inspired countless students who went on to become leaders in education and the arts. Because of Aaron Fishman’s long-term loyalty to the Yiddish shules (schools), the Yontefdike Teg collection was designed to serve the Yiddish shule and also to be an integral part of the Jewish home. The songs were chosen from material that was used in various types of Yiddish shules. Some of the songs even stem from the very beginning of the modern Yiddish shule in Europe and in America. In the collection, remarkable material can also be found, such as: songs sung in the Yiddish shules in Argentina; revived folksongs; adaptations from Avrom Goldfaden melodies; and new original music. The forty songs were chosen on the basis of first-hand experience of teaching Yiddish songs to children in the Yiddish shules and intentionally selected to be easily memorized and give great joy in singing.

The selection of the songs in this collection reflects the teaching practice in the modern Yiddish shule. There are more songs for the holidays of Chanukah, Purim and Pesach than for other holidays, largely because people are more likely to devote themselves to these holidays than to the others. Some songs represented a special significance for the editors. For example, the charming Khatsi-halayla (In the middle of the night) was chosen by the Arbeter Ring shules in Philadelphia, with which Aaron Fishman had close ties for many years. A second song, Shavuos, for which Aaron Bromberg (עייה), another teacher, had written the lyrics, has become a Chassidic tune that was taught by Leibush Lehrer, someone who had a very great universal influence. A notable innovation in this collection is that the songs are published in Yiddish, together with an English transliteration and an English summary for each song. Both the Yiddish and English transliterations conform to YIVO usage, the highest academic Yiddish language authority. The music is set in keys that are not difficult for young voices and that young fingers can easily play on the piano.

Those who have undertaken responsibility in the preparation of this collection are all active practitioners of Yiddish training, music and art. In addition, they all possess another underlying commonality: all were born in the United States, graduates of the Yiddish shules where, in several instances, they learned to sing the songs for the first time. They have all continued their interest and enthusiasm for the Yiddish shule. Not only have Yiddish songs enriched their private lives, but through these Yiddish songs, friends and family have developed love and respect for Yiddish music and Yiddish cultural works. In the original introduction, Mlotek and Gottleib write: It is our hope and aim that for Jewish children and their parents, the Jewish holidays in the shule and in the home will always be accompanied by Yiddish song and that Yiddish song will always help fortify the Jewish home and the Jewish holidays.

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