Khalutsim Gikher

Pioneers, Faster!
חלוצים, גיכער!

Folksong entitled “Ematay” about colonists of Palestine was published by S. E. Goldfarb and A. W. Binder in 1929 and 1933 respectively. The tune of “Ematay” was also published in the Metro Album of Selected Palestinian. Hebrew, Chassidic and Jewish Dances and Songs compiled by Henry Lefkowitch, in 1939. In recent years the song, in the arrangement by Zalmen Mlotek, was revived by the Workmen’s Circle Chorus during its tour of Israel in 1988. Compiler recalls that in the 1930s the Russian refrain was sung in English: “Good-bye America,/ Good-bye Yankee fashion,/ We’re off to Palestine/ To heck with the depression!”

Illustration of musical notes from the books


(Hebrew) If not now, when?

Pioneers, faster!
Pioneers, be sure,
do not hang your heads.
Pack your bags,
darn your socks
because the train is leaving.

(Russian) Good-bye, all my friends,
Good-bye cows,
Let’s go, let’s go forever
to the Land of Israel.

Ve-im lo akhshav ematay?

Khalutsim, gikher,
Khalutsim, zikher,
Nit aropgelozt di kep.
Pakt ayn di peklekh,
Farneyt di zeklekh,
Vayl der poyezd fort avek.

Proshtshaytye, vse druzya,
Proshtshay, korova,
Yedyem, yedyem navsegda
Artsa yisrael.

ואם לא עכשו אימתי?

חלוצים, גיכער,
חלוצים זיכער,
ניט אַראָפּגעלאָזט די קעפּ.
פּאַקט אײַן די פּעקלעך,
פֿאַרנײט די זעקלעך,
װײַל דער פּאָיעזד פֿאָרט אַװעק.

פּראָשטשײַטיע װסע דרוזיאַ,
פּראָשטשײַ קאָראַװאַ,
יעדיעם, יעדיעם נאַװסעגדאַ
אַרצה ישׂראל!

Song Title: Khalutsim Gikher

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Unknown
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
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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