Vu Iz Dos Gesele?

Where is the Street?
װוּ איז דאָס געסעלע?

Folksong; the text of one stanza was published in 1912 by Y. L. Cahan. The Ukrainian equivalent, beginning with “Gdye eto ulitsa” was published by Z. Skuditski in 1936. Dov Noy and Meir Noy bring the first stanza in Yiddish, Hebrew and Russian. It also appears in another folksong “Du zolst nit geyn mit keyn andere meydelekh” (You Shouldn’t Go With-Any Other Girls). The second stanza of the present text was transcribed by the compilers from a recording of Jan Peerce. A related theme is in the song “Fargangene yorn” by Leyb Ayzn in Leye Bloch-Lederer’s collection Di shenste geklibene yidishe lider: “lkh ze nokh dem shtetl, ikh ze nokh di shil / lkh ze nokh dem taykhl vi oykh di vaser-mil / lkh ze nokh mayn libste fun vayt ergets dort / Zi kumt mir in kholem un redt nit keyn vort” (I still see the town, I still see the synagogue, I still see the brook and the mill. I still see my beloved in the distance. She silently comes to me in my dream.) Actress Mina Bern sang the song in the musical Those Were the Days.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Where is the little street, where is the house?
Where is the girl who I love?
Here is the little street, here is the house.
Here is the girl who I love.

Where is the little stream, where is the mill?
Where is the village, where is the synagogue?
Here is the little stream, here is the mill.
Here is the village, here is the synagogue.

I go into the house, and my pain is great–
all that is left is merely a dream,
there is no more little street, there is no more house,
there is no more girl that I love.

Vu iz dos gesele, vu iz di shtib (shtub)?
Vu iz dos meydele, vemen kh’hob lib?
Ot iz dos gesele, ot iz di shtib,
Ot iz dos meydele, vemen kh’hob lib.

Vu iz dos taykhele, vu iz di mil?
Vu iz dos derfele, vu iz di shil?
Ot iz dos taykhele, ot iz di mil,
Ot iz dos derfele, ot iz di shil.

Arayn in di shtiber, mayn veytog iz groys,
Alts iz geblibn a kholem nor bloyz,
Nishto mer dos gesele, nishto mer di shtib,
Nishto mer dos meydele vemen kh’hob lib.

װוּ איז דאָס געסעלע, װוּ איז די שטיב (שטוב)?
װוּ איז דאָס מײדעלע, װעמען כיהאָב ליב?
אָט איז דאָס געסעלע, אָט איז די שטיב,
אָט איז דאָס מײדעלע, װעמען כיהאָב ליב.

װוּ איז דאָס טײַכעלע, װוּ איז די מיל?
װוּ איז דאָס דערפֿעלע, װוּ איז די שיל?
אָט איז דאָס טײַכעלע, אָט איז די מיל,
אָט איז דאָס דערפֿעלע, אָט איז די שיל.

אַרּנײַן אין די שטיבער, מײן װײטאָג איז גרױס,
אַלצ איז געבליבן אַ חלום נאָר בלויז,
נישטאָ מער דאָס געסעלע, נישטאָ מער די שטיב,
נישטאָ מער דאָס מײדעלע װעמען כיהאָב ליב.

Song Title: Vu Iz Dos Gesele?

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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