Am Yisroel Khay!

The People of Israel Live!
עם ישׂראל חי!

Words by Soviet Jewish poet Joseph Kerler (born 1918), who emigrated to Israel in 1971. The song was published in the Anthology of Yiddish Folksongs, IV (1987). The accompanying footnote states that “the song was created in the circles of new immigrants from Soviet Russia, which they call ‘gazlen-land’ (the land of bandits).” Actor-singer Theodore Bikel sings: “Khay, khay, zoln zey geyn in dr’erd arayn” (Live, live, let them go to hell!).

Illustration of musical notes from the books


The Devil take all our enemies!
Let us, openly and freely,
Let us sing out deliberately
Our little song: Live!

Live, live!
Long live the sunshine!
Live, live!
Let all Jews be happy!
The Devil take all our enemies –
The people of Israel still live!

We will overcome everything.
Everything is worth it,
And we’ll get to Israel,
We’ll get there anyway.

Our beautiful, distant star
Shines to us from the free land.
Let the whole world hear,
How we sing: Live!

Oyf tselokhes ale sonim
Lomir frank un fray,
Lomir zingen mit kavone:
Undzer lidl “khay!”

Khay, khay!
Lebn zol di zunenshayn,
Khay, khay!
Freylekh zol bay yidn zayn!
Oyf tselokhes ale sonim -­
Am yisroel khay!

Alts mir veln iberkumen,
Alts iz dokh keday;
Un in erets vein mir kumen,
Kumen say vi say!

Undzer sheyner vayter shtern
Shaynt undz fun der fray;
Zol di gantse velt derhern,
Vi mir zingen “khay!”

אױף צו להכעיס אַלע שׂונאים
לאָמיר פֿראַנק און פֿרײַ,
לאָמיר זינגען מיט כּװנה:
אונדזער לידל “!חי!”

חי, חי!
לעבן זאָל די זונענשײַן,
חי, חי!
פֿרײלעך זאָל בײַ ייִדן זײַן!
אױף צו להכעיס אַלע שׂונאים –
עם ישׂראל חי!

אַלץ מיר װעלן איבערקומען,
אַלץ איז דאָך כּדאַי;
און אין ארץ װעלן מיר קומען,
קומען סײַ װי סײַ!

אונדזער שײנער װײַטער שטערן
שײַנט אונדז פֿון דער פֿרײַ;
זאָל די גאַנצע װעלט דערהערן,
װי מיר זינגען „חי!“

Song Title: Am Yisroel Khay!

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Joseph Kerler
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: יוסף קערלער
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song

The Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song anthology comprises songs that were either never printed before or appeared in rare and inaccessible publications — sometimes in different versions and without proper sources. Most of the songs in this book were submitted by readers of Chana and Yosl’s column “Perl fun der yidisher poezye” (Pearls of Yiddish Poetry) in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forverts (The Forward), initiated in October, 1970. Over 25 years, thousands of songs were collected in correspondence and on cassettes from readers throughout the world, and they represent a veritable national Yiddish song archive. Chana Mlotek, in her introduction, writes, “In the course of years the inquiries, contributions and enthusiasm of these readers have kept our own interest unflagging and have reinforced our dedication to this effort. And in recent years our participants have also been augmented by new readers from the former Soviet Russia, who receive our newspaper there or from newly-arrived immigrants in this country and Israel.”

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