Ikh Bin A Yid!

I Am a Jew
איך בין אַ ייִד!

Words by ltsik Fefer, born in 1900 and murdered on August 12,1952 during the Stalin era together with other prominent Yiddish writers and cultural leaders. Music by Emil Gorovets, Soviet Yiddish singer, who immigrated to this country in 1974. He performed this song at the annual Workmen’s Circle August 12th commemorations of the liquidation of Yiddish Writers in Soviet Russia which took place at City Hall.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


The generations-old wine
has strengthened me in my wanderings.
The angry sword of pain and sorrow
has not destroyed my treasure.

My people, my faith and my flourishing
it has not shackled my freedom.
From beneath the sword I have cried out,
“I am a Jew!”

The clever nuance of Rabbi Akiva,
and the wisdom of Isaiah’s word
have nourished my thirst, my love,
and matched it against hate.

The zeal of the Maccabean heroes
and Bar Khokhba’s blood seethes in mine,
from all the pyres I have announced,
“I am a Jew!”

To spite our enemies
who are preparing my grave,
I will, under the flag of freedom,
still have no end of pleasure.

I’ll plant my vineyard
and I will forge my own fate,
I’ll yet dance on my enemies’ graves!
I am a Jew!

Der vayn fun doyresdikn doyer
Hot mir geshtarkt in vanderveg,
Di beyze shverd fun payn un troyer
Hot nit farnikhtet mayn farmeg.

Mayn folk, mayn gloybn un mayn blien,
Zi hot mayn frayheyt nit geshmidt.
Fun unter shverd hob ikh geshrien:
lkh bin a yid!

Der kluger kneytsh fun Reb Akive,
Di khokhme fun Yeshayes vort
Hobn genert mayn dursht, mayn libe
Un zi mit has tsunoyfgeport.

Der shvung fun makabeyer heldn,
Bar Kokhbas blut in maynem zidt,
Fun ale shayters fleg ikh meldn:
lkh bin a yid!

Un oyf tsepikenish di sonim,
Vos greytn kvorim shoyn far mir,
Vel ikh unter di fraye fonen
Nokh hobn nakhes on a shir.

Kh’vel mayne vayngertner farflantsn
Un fun mayn goyrl zayn der shmid,
Kh’vel noklh oyf di sonims keyver tantsn!
lkh bin a yid!

דער װײַן פֿון דורותדיקן דױער
האָט מיר געשטאַרקט אין װאַנדערװעג,
די בײזע שװערד פֿון פּײַן און טרױער
האָט ניט פֿאַרניכטעט מײַן פֿאַרמעג.

מײַן פֿאָלק, מײַן גלױבן און מײַן בליִען,
זי האָט מײַן פֿרײַהײט ניט געשמידט.
פֿון אונטער שװערד האָב איך געשריִען:
איך בין אַ ייִד!

דער קלוגער קנײטש פֿון רב עקיבֿא,
די חכמה פֿון ישעיהס װאָרט
האָבן גענערט מײַן דורשט, מײַן ליבע
און זי מיט האַס צונױפֿגעפּאָרט.

דער שװוּנג פֿון מכּביער העלדן,
בר־כּוכבאס בלוט אין מײַנעם זידט,
פֿון אַלע שײַטערס פֿלעג איך מעלדן:
איך בין אַ ייִד!

און אױף צעפּיקעניש די שׂונאים,
װאָס גרײטן קבֿרים שױן פֿאַר מיר,
װעל איך אונטער די פֿרײַע פֿאָנען
נאָך האָבן נחת אָן אַ שיעור.

כ׳װעל מײַנע װײַנגערטנער פֿאַרפֿלאַנצן
און פֿון מײַן גורל זײַן דער שמיד,
כ׳װעל נאָך אױף די שׂונאימס קבֿר טאַנצן!
איך בין אַ ייִד!

Song Title: Ikh Bin A Yid!

Composer: Emil Gorovets
Composer’s Yiddish Name: עמיל גאָראָװעץ
Lyricist: ltsik Fefer
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: איציק פֿעפֿער
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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