Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kol Yisroel Khaveyrim - a Yiddish theater song from 1906

This song is one you can search for efficiently if you use "pipes" (the key that has the backslash on the bottom has the pipe on top) because the three words come with a mix and match spelling:

Kol Yisroel|Isroel|Israel|Yisrael|Yisraeil Chaverim|Khaveyrim|Khaverim|Chaveirim|Haverim

The one in the American Yiddish Penny Song collection was written in 1906 by David Meyerowitz and Louis Gilrod and the sheet music is at the Library of Congress. The cover says: "Sung with great success by Mr. B. Bernstein in the play "The Great Jew."

You'll find a number of songs with this title on Youtube -- but not this particular one, so even though the song makes me uncomfortable, I recorded it (click the picture below to hear my version on Youtube):

The solidarity expressed in this song is not very politically correct these days. The phrase "Kol yisroel khaveyrim" appears in other songs, including "Khaveyrim - khazeyrim," which I'll be recording soon. And as usual, no serious song would be complete without a cynical or wry last verse. See translation after the jump.

In the world there are many peoples, countless different nations
And among all these people are also living, quietly,
The Jewish people, the folk Israel
Yisrolik appears to be very weak - his people are comparatively few
But in fact Reb Yisrolik is quite a bigshot!
The Jew is full of wisdom, full of charm.
Because all the Jewish people sing this song all the time:

"All Jews are friends" - it's heard throughout the world
Jewish friendship is dearer than money
A Jew will always get along with another Jew
Because all Jews are friends

Many evil dogs bark at the Jew in every land, all the time
But as soon as the Jew's song of the Diaspora is heard,
Help is sent to him from everywhere.
Who hasn't mourned for the thousands of victims
Who were felled by Russia's hand?
How proud the Jew is of his compassion:
He receives help from every land.
And that's the very reason the Jew will never go under.

A Jew like a skeleton runs to the rebbe;
behind him runs his wife, cursing.
"Rebbe!" cries the Jew, "give me a divorce!
My woman is darkening my world!
When I come home, my life is a drag!
She's got friends there at the table and bench!
She gives her cronies the pudding.
But for me, she just leaves a goodly pain.
The rebbe cries: "What's the meaning of this? What a situation!"
And she answers, laughing:

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:

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