Opening Medley 05:26
Tsint on di likht 02:18
Dos iz dos oreme broyt (David Feinberg) 02:09
Ma nishtana 00:31
Avadim hayinu 02:53
Oyfn nil 03:07
Zol kleyn un gros haynt redn 01:17
Tayere malke 02:15
Zog maran 03:10
Dayenu 01:54
Khad gadyo 01:11
Arbeter-Ring-Himen 01:46

Liner Notes

The peculiarly American annual communal event known until recently as the “Third Seder” emerged in the 1920s and 1930s as a secular (sometimes even antireligious) Yiddish cultural and perhaps socialist alternative to the traditional, biblically based home and family ritual that constitutes the core of Pesah observance. The Third Seder was so named to distinguish it from the traditional seders conducted on the first two nights of Pesah in the Diaspora (only on the first night in the Land of Israel). It has been held customarily either preceding Pesah (often on the preceding Sunday) or during the intermediate days of the Festival, in part to accommodate those who, even as members of organizations that did not observe or had renounced the religious dimensions of Jewish life might still want for social or familial reasons to partake of traditional seders with friends or relatives—or even, out of habit, to host modified seders or festive dinners on those nights.

By definition and design, Third Seders are public or quasi-public, communally shared, and only partly interactive productions. Through their altered, reinterpreted, and reinvented literary and aesthetic Passover-related content, and with the elimination of all religious and theological references from their versions of the Passover story in terms of its evolving historical and social significance, they reflect the ideological orientations and cultural predilections of their sponsoring organizations. They may thus be said to be organizational by nature. They do not have a private home counterpart. To the contrary, the Third Seder relies on a communal experience that transcends individual families or small circles of friends, and—without negating collective participation in certain readings and songs—it requires a performer-audience format for the prepared choral, dance, and dramatic components that are central to the program. Moreover, the institution itself has always been an educational vehicle, so that performances by children’s choirs and dance groups from the organization’s schools—and sometimes stage sketches or skits—play an important role.

The Third Seder sprouted as an institution among elements of eastern European Yiddish-speaking immigrants and their next generation that had already consciously abandoned the religious dimensions of Jewish life and affiliated themselves with organizations that advocated ethnic-cultural along with socialist aspects of a veltlikhe yidishkayt (secular, or worldly Jewishness). Yet many of those Jews still wanted to preserve vestiges of the major holydays that most of their grandparents—if not their parents—had observed in Europe; and they sought ways to perpetuate some of the most entrenched and attractive customs and ceremonies by reclothing and reimagining them in secular terms and in ways that would pertain as well to current circumstances and issues. Passover, with its theme of liberation from bondage, offered an ideal opportunity for secular reconsideration and cultural reinforcement. The traditional narrative of the Haggada, with its biblical basis and rabbinic accretions, could now be revised and supplemented as a heroic legend with contemporary relevance, without its centrality of Divine intervention. Ironically, there could be heightened focus on and even identification of the very leader (Moses) whose name is deliberately absent from the Haggada—precisely in order to preclude any tendency to give ultimate credit for the Exodus to anyone other than the Almighty. This new version of Passover could then incorporate and inspire Yiddish cultural creativity.

The full-scale Third Seders for adults as well as children evolved from earlier model school seders within the educational wings of secular Yiddishist organizations. That origin ensured the maintenance of the educational parameters and the involvement of children from those schools in the later, more elaborate public events.

By the 1940s the Third Seder, in all its sumptuousness, had become the prominent independent production of two separate secular Yiddishist and socialist-leaning organizations—each of which devised its own version according to its orientation: the Labor Zionist Farband and the Arbeter Ring (Workmen’s Circle). As productions of a non-Zionist organization, the Arbeter Ring seders naturally avoided references to Zionist history or modern Hebrew culture (although after 1948 some sympathetic strains began to creep in, with decreasing objections). The Labor Zionists, on the other hand, who represented a synthesis of socialism and Jewish nationalism, logically included interpreted links between the Passover themes and the enterprise in Palestine and, later, to Israeli society—without relinquishing the primary focus on Yiddish culture and working-class aspirations.

In New York, from the late 1930s through the early 1950s, the two events could be publicized with equal fanfare, attended by roughly equal numbers, and presented with more or less equal pizzazz. But in some years the Farband Third Seders were the more prominent and more lavish of the two, with sensational promotions and advertisement. Important Yiddish writers were commissioned to create new texts and readings, and there were famous actors and actresses from the Yiddish stage and also well-known and even celebrity singers, accompanied not only by a professional choir (together with the Farband choir) but also by an orchestra. One year Richard Tucker sang at the Waldorf Astoria; another time Frank Sinatra made an appearance and was honored for a contribution he had made to a hospital in Israel.

In other cities across the country (especially outside the greater New York area, where the Labor Zionists’ activities were usually more concentrated and more conspicuous than elsewhere), where the Arbeter Ring enjoyed far greater public presence, image, and numbers than the Farband, the Workmen’s Circle’s Third Seders had the limelight. Indeed, common perception now associates these events specifically if not exclusively with the Arbeter Ring as their progenitor. Even past the 1960s its branches continued to present the seders in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago, albeit to dwindling numbers and in a significantly abbreviated format—in the last case, as late as 1978, several years after the Workmen’s Circle had already vacated and disposed of its Chicago facility. In New York, however, the Arbeter Ring’s Third Seder thrives in the second decade of the 21st century. Recently renamed a “Cultural Seder,” it is now updated to incorporate hopes for “liberation from the tyranny of poverty, the tyranny of war, the tyranny of ignorance, and the tyranny of hate.” This is of course completely consistent with its long-established humanistic perspectives on Passover, and religious elements are still entirely absent. Some English has been introduced, along with a few contemporary songs. But Yiddish language, poetry, recitations, and songs still predominate as the major features.

The history and chronology of the Third Seder remain clouded in mystery—as does, most especially, the question of which organization initiated it. Thus far the evidence—which is preliminary and yet to be explored adequately or given sufficient scholarly attention—points in the direction of the Labor Zionists, even though popular collective memory accords more prominence to the seders of the Arbeter Ring and their longer-standing continuum. Also unsolved is the question of which other organizations held similar events on a smaller scale.

In 1954 the famous Yiddish poet Jacob Glatshtayn [Glatstein] addressed the Third Seder in a series of columns he wrote for the Yiddish newspaper Der Tog–Morgn Zhurnal (The Day–Morning Journal, a merger of the two independent periodicals) under the heading Prost un poshet. He invited readers to contribute information regarding its history and received letters from various people, each claiming to have originated the Third Seder—either individually or on behalf of some organization.

Some of the letters he received and published appear to confirm, albeit tentatively and without supporting documentation, the Labor Zionist origins—in connection with the Histradut campaign. Readers also wrote in with obscure information about independent “one-off third seders”—each claimed as the “first ever.” Some of them predate the known foundations or inaugurations of the Third Seder as an institution. One was reported to have been a special seder sponsored by the Central Committee of the Labor Zionist Farband for Jewish legionnaires about to leave for Palestine in 1917 to fight in the Jewish Brigade of the British army. Another concerned a putative presentation by the “Volhynia Branch” of the Labor Zionist Farband in Philadelphia in 1919; and there was a recollection of a third seder sponsored by the “Arbeter Ring Klub” in Boston in 1923. There were other mentions of third seders outside the Yiddishists’ world.

It is known that the Arbeter Ring conducted a Third Seder in New York as early as 1922, which is the first one of theirs we have thus far been able to identify. But that was a pedagogic exercise for children enrolled in its afternoon Yiddish schools, and it came to include those in its Mitlshul (high school) as well. During the ensuing decade, the Arbeter Ring responded to its adult members’ growing interest in a secular cultural celebration by developing the school seder into the elaborate public event that took root as a solid tradition. The Workmen’s Circle dates its first full-scale Third Seder to 1933. By the mid-1950s it was being held at such venues as the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria, with more than a thousand people in attendance.

By then the program had come to include a more or less fixed form, with favorite songs and readings repeated annually. Yet it was always open to innovation and new material, which occupied its planning committee each year. Indeed, part of the tradition included the desiderata for some new element to be introduced each year along with the standard features.

In a Milken Archive interview in 2002, Mikhl Baran, who directed the Arbeter Ring’s Third Seders in New York beginning in 1955 and for many years thereafter, recalled its program:


It would begin around 12:30 in the afternoon [Sunday] with an hour-and-a-half presentation that consisted of recitations of the New Haggada [A naye hagode shel peysakh; Education Committee of the Workmen’s Circle, NY, 1952], skits, and performances by a dance troupe and choruses. There were two choruses: an adult and a children’s one. Mikhl Gelbart was the music director.

Every year some new musical piece would be introduced and there would be some change in the repertoire. On the stage there was a long table at which were seated students of the Mitlshuls of the Workmen’s Circle and their leaders.

A traditional Pesah seder meal—kosher—was served. After the meal, the educational director [Joseph Mlotek, from the 1950s until his retirement] gave a talk on the significance of the holyday, on the general political situation that year, and about the symbols and values of freedom. The speech would last about fifteen minutes, after which the recitation of the rest of the Haggada took about another forty-five minutes. After the event, there would usually be social and folk dancing until four or five p.m.

The Labor Zionist Farband developed its format independently of the Arbeter Ring. One account dates its first such event to 1927 in Providence, Rhode Island. Its road to New York remains unclear (the Labor Zionist archives no longer reside in New York). Apparently there was already a Labor Zionist Third Seder there by 1932, held at Trotsky’s Restaurant on West Thirty-fifth Street—which drew, according to some recollections, about two hundred participants. (This may or may not have been the first Labor Zionist Third Seder in New York.) Later, the Farband also created its own Haggada: Hagode shel paysakh farn dritn seyder (n.d., ca. early 1950s). Its seders, unlike those of the Arbeter Ring, had a political or quasi-political dimension in terms of the organization’s support of the Zionist movement and then Israel—especially the labor union movement there. Speakers from Palestine and then Israel were invited to make presentations. Yiddish songs as well as those associated with modern Israel were often intertwined. So large was the attendance some years that parallel, simultaneous celebrations were required at two separate venues: the ballrooms at the Waldorf Astoria and Commodore hotels, for example, on the same evening or afternoon. One year the event was moved to the Manhattan Center. The Histadrut Third Seder in 1953 attracted nearly four thousand people.

Because the continuum of the Farband Third Seders has been severed, and in the absence of archival information (which may not be found in the existing archives), it is not presently possible to reconstruct their musical programs with any degree of authenticity—as we are able to do for the Arbeter Ring seders. We do know, from recollections of a few participants, that the program often included some Zionist- and Israel-related folk dances and songs, sometimes in Yiddish translations.

In reconstructing the Arbeter Ring Third Seders of the mid-to-late 20th century, and in attempting to understand the way in which they reflected the secular orientation of the organization, it can be useful to compare some of the wording of the Workmen’s Circle Haggada with that of the traditional one.

Coincidentally—if ironically—in common with the Reform format as reflected in the Union Haggadah is the Arbeter Ring’s inclusion of candle lighting as part of the seder proper. It is not and cannot be part of the traditional seder, which can commence only after sundown on the holy day (after the recitation of the evening service, or ma’ariv), when ignition of flames would be prohibited. The candle lighting must be accomplished prior to sundown independently of the seder, which might not begin until well afterward. The Reform ritual, however, employs the standard mandated b’rakha, which extols God and acknowledges His commandment to kindle the Festival lights (actually, a rabbinic statute that has the force of Divine commandment, or mitzva). In the Arbeter Ring Third Seder that b’rakha is replaced by the singing of Tsint on di likht (Light the Candles), a poem by Solomon Frug to a tune by Eugene Malek, a well-known musical personality in the Yiddishist world who directed some of the choruses far to the political left of the Workmen’s Circle in Chicago and New York. With the religiously neutral announcement, “Let the candles be lighted!” this text avoids any reference to God or any Divine commandment. The traditional Pesah symbols—the bitter herbs (moror), the spring green (karpas), the condiment (aroset), the four cups of wine, the matza, and the lamb shank (though its mention is omitted)—are cited not as commandments but as “guides and signs of freedom’s strength and Jewish pride.”

The traditional Aramaic text, Ha lama anya (This is the bread of affliction), is represented by its Yiddish version: Dos iz dos oreme broyt. Whereas the traditional text closes with the hope that by the same time the following year the entire people Israel will be free everywhere in the world, the Arbeter Ring version states that “this year we are slaves, but by next year we shall all be free.” There is no mention of the people Israel; and the image of slavery as a current condition also harks back to the socialist rhetoric of slavery in connection with unfair labor practices. The program booklets of more recent Arbeter Ring Cultural Seders have added a spoken or communally read introduction to the text:

We celebrate the labor and the dignity of the laborer
that brings to our table the bounty of the earth.
But we remember the bread of affliction that
our ancestors ate in Egypt.

Ma nishtana (Why is this night different [from all others]?). The melody of the “Four Questions” presented here is one of several traditional but anonymous tunes for these words. It has long been well known in traditional and orthodox circles in America, in addition to the more modal, chantlike version. Whether it originated in Europe or America has not been established.

The traditional seder commences the reply to the Four Questions and the reinvocation of the narrative with the pronouncement Avadim hayinu (We were once slaves of the Pharoah in Egypt). The Yiddish counterpart in the Arbeter Ring Third Seder is a poem by I. J. Schwartz, for which Lazar Weiner created a haunting melody reminiscent of a composite European chant tradition for this text and for much of the rest of the Haggada. The traditional text, however, acknowledges at the outset that “God brought us out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,” and had He not done so, then “we, our children, and our children’s children would have remained enslaved to Pharaoh.” That Divine role is characteristically denied by omission in the Arbeter Ring perspective, which was reinforced by an addendum after the initial printing of the New Haggada: “We were once slaves to a Pharaoh in Egypt and we liberated ourselves.”

Oyfn nil (Afloat in the Nile), an interpolated poem by Avraham Reisen to a melody by Mikhl Gelbart, refers to the biblical account in which Moses’ mother puts her infant son in a basket and places it on the waters of the river—in the hopes of saving him from the Pharaoh’s decree that instructs the murder of the firstborn sons of all Israelites. (The child is discovered by the Pharaoh’s daughter and reared as her own.) The poem refers to Moses, rather than to God, as the “savior of the slaves.”

Zol kleyn un groys haynt redn (Let young and old speak today) is the choral response within a poetic Yiddish presentation based on the “four sons” cited in the traditional Haggada: the wise son, who asks what testimonies, statutes, and laws God has commanded [concerning Pesah an the seder]; the wicked son, who asks what the seder means “to you,” thus excluding himself from the Jewish community and people; the simple son, who is able to ask only “What does this mean?”; and the son who does not know what to ask. It is for his sake that the Exodus from Egypt and all its significance for the Jewish people must be recounted.

Tayere malke (Dear Malke, the Pesah Queen) is a folklike song by Mark Warshawsky. It introduces the second half of the seder, following the meal, during which the remaining two of the four cups of wine are to be consumed. Malke is called upon to fill the goblets in preparation for the third round. The opening of the final strophe (“I drink to my enemies”) might be interpreted as a reference to the moment in a traditional seder following the third cup of wine when—with the opening of the door for the prophet Elijah—the participants call upon God to “pour our His wrath” upon all those who, with no recognition or fear of God, have “devoured and destroyed the habitation” of the people Israel. But the connection can be only a supposition.

Zog maran (Tell me, Marrano) is a charming song by Samuel Bugatch, who was intimately involved with the Workmen’s Circle throughout his life. Soon after he wrote this, one of his best-known songs, it became a part of the Third Seder. The text is another poem by Reisen. It evokes the image of a marrano, or crypto-Jew, in post-Expulsion Spain, who stubbornly clings to some residual seder observances knowing that if caught, he could be executed by order of the Inquisition. Although Jews as Jews were not subject to the jurisdiction of the Inquisition, marranos were because they had converted to Christianity, whether sincerely or not. As Christians in the eyes of the Church, their Judaic recidivism could be considered heresy.

The poem Kama ma’alot (For how many acts of generosity [do we owe gratitude to God the Ever-Present One?]) is often known by its one-word refrain, Dayenu (It would have been enough for us [in itself to require our gratitude]). Its recitation or singing occurs in the first part of traditional seders, before the meal; in the Arbeter Ring Third Seder it is rendered toward the end of the second part. The original Hebrew text enumerates fifteen Divine acts of generosity toward the ancient Israelites leading to and during the Exodus, during the forty-year sojourn in the wilderness and the arrival at Sinai to receive the gift of the Torah, and culminating in the Israelites being led into their land, where the Temple would be built. The Yiddish paraphrased version by I. J. Schwartz preserved modified references to only eight of these acts—all of which are cited in the passive voice as occurrences rather than acts—with no mention of any Divine role. The refrain, “dayenu,” in this version can mean only that each occurrence would have been sufficient on its own to merit gratitude to good fortune.

The melody for this refrain has been ubiquitous and virtually exclusive among American Jewry since at least the early 20th century. It has earmarks of a cross between a Germanic drinking song and a military march, but its origin has never been established and no evidence of its existence in Europe has been found. Its association with dayenu is almost certainly an American phenomenon; it is contained in no extant European musical sources. How and when this tune became attached to dayenu, however, requiring kitschy repetitions and distortions of syllabic stress, is not known.

Khad gadyo (A Single Kid) is a popular folksong traditionally sung at the conclusion of the seder (technically, appended to the seder). Its cumulative structure is common to folksongs of many cultures. On its surface it is a kind of game song, partly for the benefit of children, and some objective literary and folklore scholars have pointed to possible precedents in old French as well as other non-Jewish folksong sources. But underlying Judaically related metaphors, symbols, and meanings have also been deduced by commentators—including the identification of the goat with the Jewish people; the father with the Almighty; and the two coins with Moses and his brother Aron, the two agents of Divine redemption. Other commentators have suggested additional or alternative symbolism. The simplistic Yiddish paraphrasing of the original Aramaic text, written by I. Lukowsky, was used by Mikhl Gelbart for his tune.

The Arbeter-Ring-Himen (The Anthem of the Workmen’s Circle) is a poem by A. Liessen with a melody by Meyer Posner, conductor of the New York Workmen’s Circle Chorus from 1916/1919(?) until 1929 and the composer and arranger of much of its early repertoire and that of its branch choruses in other cities. The motto it contains, “All for one and one for all,” encapsulates in many respects the mission and values of the Arbeter Ring.

A typical Arbeter Ring Third Seder is introduced by a famous, religiously neutral, and eminently humanistic passage from Psalms. This Opening Medley includes the original Hebrew and a Yiddish translation of Hinei ma tov (“How pleasant and good it is for all people to dwell together in peace”), concluding with the traditional Yiddish greeting on Festivals, Gut yom tov (May you have a good holyday). The melody is ubiquitous among American Jewry, but its origin is unknown. The Arbeter Ring’s New Haggada does not open with Hinei ma tov, but it has been sung at the beginning of Arbeter Ring Third Seders since the 1970s.



By: Neil W. Levin



Sung in Yiddish unless otherwise indicated

Music: P. Almoni
Words: based on the Bible
Sung in Hebrew and Yiddish

How pleasant and good it is for people to live together in peace.
Gut yom tov [happy holy day], a gut yom tov to you, a gut yom tov to all; a gut yom tov.

TSINT ON DI LIKHT (Light the Candles)
Music: Eugene Malek
Words: Solomon Frug

Light the candles from end to end,
Adorn the table with fresh-smelling flowers.
Three beautiful roses— bright and fine,
Pick, my child.
Dip the morer, karpas, in kharoyses
With the finest, reddest wine.
Pour your cups full.
With endless joy and love;
With warm faith and deep dedication,
Raise your first cup
For our old sweet freedom.

Words: from the Haggada
Sung in Yiddish and English

This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in Egypt.
All who are hungry come and eat.
All who are in need come share our Passover.
This year slaves, next year we’ll all be free.

Words: from the Haggada

Why is this night different?

Music: Lazar Weiner
Words: I. J. Schwartz

We were slaves
A long time ago in Egypt;
Generations were passing—
There was no one to set us free.

So we mixed the clay,
Made bricks for the walls.
In the hearts of the slaves
There burned pain and sadness.
We were slaves.

The Egyptian’s whip whistles to the back;
It cuts through the skin with wrath.
Pharaoh commands: in the river you shall drown
Any newborn boy.
We were slaves.

The sun burnt from the east
Over shoulders silently bent;
And the always powerful anger
Was burning in the eyes.
We were slaves.

Blood and flesh kneaded in clay
And the slaves are silently mute.
Generations come and generations go;
Will the redemption ever come?
We were slaves.

ZOL KLEYN UN GROYS (Let Young and Old); Last stanza from: DI ARBO BONIM FUN DER HAGODE (The Four Sons of the Haggada)
Music: Eugene Malek

Let young and old speak today
Of that wondrous time
When Jews boldly freed themselves
From the angry Pharaoh.

OYFN NIL (Afloat in the Nile)
Music: Michl Gelbart
Words: Avraham Reisen

The basket floats on the river,
On the mighty Nile.
The basket floats calmly, smoothly,
The basket floats silently.

And the waves move quietly,
Move gently and delicately;
As though they were careful
Not to harm the child.
The basket floats on the river …

And the waves are
Not as wicked as Pharaoh.
They will not drown
The savior of the slaves.
The basket floats on the river …

Music and Words: Mark Warshawsky

My dear Malke [Passover Queen],
May you be blessed.
Fill the goblet,
The glass with wine.
Bim Bom …

This goblet—
Glowing so beautifully—
My grandfather drank from it,
My own grandfather.

There were difficult times,
As it happens,
But the goblet I kept
Steadfastly and with pride.

Dear Malke,
May you be blessed.
To whom should I drink
This wine?

I drink to my enemies,
Just don’t let them know.
Look, tears, they spurt
Out of the goblet.

ZOG MARAN (Tell Me, Marrano)
Music: Samuel Bugatch
Words: Avraham Reisen

Tell me, my Marrano brother,
Where have you prepared your Seder?

In a deep cave, in a room,
That is where I prepared my Seder.

Tell me, Marrano, where, from whom
Will you get white matzohs?

In the cave, with God’s care
My wife kneaded the dough.

Say, Marrano, how are you going to figure out
Where to find a Haggada?

In the cave, in deep cracks
I have long ago already hidden one.

Say, Marrano, how will you defend yourself
When your voice will be heard?

When the enemy will take me captive,  
I will die with song.

DAYEINU (Tell Me, Marrano)
Words: adapted from the Haggada by I. J. Schwartz

Had we only been happily
Freed from Egypt,
But had the River not split for us—
It would have sufficed.

Had the River split,
But had we not been able
To cross it on a dry ocean bedrock—
It would have sufficed.

Had we succeeded in passing through it,
But not been able to survive
Forty years in the desert—
It would have sufficed.

Had we survived
The forty years in the desert
But not found manna—
It would have sufficed.

Had we found manna,
But not received the Sabbath,
And not arrived at Sinai—
It would have sufficed.

Had we arrived at Sinai,
But not received the Torah,
Not becoming the people of the Torah—
It would have sufficed.

KHAD GADYO (An Only Kid)
Music: Michl Gelbart
Words: I. Lukowsky, based on the traditional Aramaic text

I have a little tale for you,
A small pretty story.
Father bought a kid
For two gold coins.

A little white kid,
As pretty as gold,
And two gold coins cash
He paid for her.
       One kid …

ARBETER-RING HIMEN (Anthem of the Workmen's Circle)
Music: Mayer Posner
Words: A. Liesin

We have guarded our cherished flames
For decades.
They have also followed us
Beyond oceans with love.
They have welded us together
In a circle forged with honor.

And all for one,
And one for all,
Inspired as one
With one common ideal,
The great ones, the beautiful ones
Of the working masses!



Sung in Hebrew and Yiddish

hine ma tov umana’im shevet akhim gam yakhad.
vi voyl un vi gut iz far menshen tzu leben  bsholem.
gut yom-tov, gut yom-tov aykh, gut yom-tov alemen, a gut yom-tov. 

TSINT ON DI LIKHT (Light the Candles)

tsint on di likht fun ek biz ek,
bakrants dem tish mit frishe blumen,
dray shenste royzn—hel un fayn—
klayb oys, mayn kind, unshtek arayn
in morer, karpes un kharoyses.
un mit dem reynstn, bestn vayn
gis on biz ful di koyses.
mit freyd un libe on a mos,
mit heysn gloybn, tifer trayhayt,
heyb oyf, mayn kind, dem ershtn kos
far undzer alter, ziser frayhayt!


dos is dos oreme broyt vos undzere eltern hobn gegesn in land mitsrayim.
ver es iz hungerik zol kumen esn.
ver es neytikt zikh—zol haltn mit undz peysakh.
hayntiks yor knekht, dos kumndike yor—fraye mentshn!


ma nishtano halaylo haze?


shklafn zaynen mir geven
gor a mol in land mitsrayim;
doyres kumen un fargeyen—
nit geven, ver s’zol bafrayen.
avodim hoyinu.

hobn mir dem leym geknotn,
tsigl makhn far dem moyer;
in di hertser fun di shlafn
hot geglit der tsar un troyer.
    avodim hoyinu.

fayft dem mitsris baytsh oyf rukns;
shnaydt zikh in dem layb mit tsorn.
pare heyst:  in taykh dertrinken
vert a yingl nor geborn.
    avodim hoyinu.

s’hot gebrent di zun fun mizrakh
iber pleytses shtum geboygn;
un der onmekhtiker tsorn
hot getliyet in di oygn.
    avodim hoyinu.

blut un fleysh in leym fargnaten,
un di shklafn shvaygn shtume;
doyres kumen doyres geyen
vet amal di g’ula kumen.
          avodim hoyinu.

Music: Eugene Malek

zol kleyn un groys haynt redn
fun yener vunderlekher tsayt,
ven yidn hobn fun beyzn paren
mutik zikh bafrayt.


shvimt dos kestl oyfn taykh,
oyfn groysn nil.
shvimt dos kestl ruik, glaykh,
shvimt dos kestl shtil.

un di khvalyes geyen shtil,
geyen tsart un lind;
vi zey voltn hitn zikh
ton a leyd dem kind.
    shvimt dos kestl oyfn taykh …

o, di khvalyes zaynen dokh
nit vi pare shlekht.
nit dertrinken veln zey
moshiakhn fun knekht.
    shvimt dos kestl oyfn taykh …


tayere malke, gezunt zolstu zayn!
gis on dem bekher, dem bekher mit vayn.
    bim bom …

fun dem dozikn bekher—er glantst azoy sheyn—
hot getrunken mayn zeyd, mayn zeyde aleyn.
    bim bom …

geven shlekhte tsaytn, vi s’makht zikh a mol,
nor dem bekher hob ikh gehaltn ayzn un shtol.
    bim bom …

tayere malke, gezunt zolstu zayn!
far vemen zol ikh trinken dem dozikn vayn?
    bim bom …

kh’trink far mayne sonim, nor zog zey nit oys.
kuk!  trern—zey shpritsn fun bekher aroys. . .
    bim bom …


zog, maran, du bruder mayner,
vu iz greyt der sayder dayner?
    —in tifer heyl, in a kheyder,
    dort hob ikh gegreyt mayn seder.

zog, maran, mir, vu, bay vemen,
vestu vayse matses nemen?
    —in der heyl, oyf gots barotn,
    hot mayn vayb dem teyg geknotn.

zog, maran, vi vest zikh klign
a hagode vu tsu krign?
    —in der heyl, in tife shpaltn,
    hob ikh zi shoyn lang bahaltn.

zog, maran, vi vest zikh vern
ven men vet dayn kol derhern?
    —ven der soyn vet mikh fangen,
    vel ikh shtarbn mit gezangen.


voltn mir nor fun mitsrayim
gliklekh oysgeleyzt gevorn,
nor der yam zikh nisht geshpoltn—

volt der yam zikh shoyn geshpoltn
nor im durkhgeyn in der trukn
volt undz demolt nisht gegoltn—

voltn mir im shoyn ariber,
nisht gekent nor iberkumen
fertsik yor in groysn midber—

voltn mir di fersik yor shoyn
in dem midber durkhgekumen,
un keyn mon dort nisht gefunen—

voltn mir dort mon gefunen,
nor dem shabes nisht bakumen,
un tsum sinay nisht gekumen—

voltn mir tsum sinay kumen,
nor di toyre nisht bakumen,
s’folk fun toyre nisht gevorn—


Ikh’hob faraykh a maysele,
a maysele gor sheyn.
der tate hot a tsigele
gekoyft far tsvey gildeyn.
    a tsigele a vaysinke,
    a sheyninke vi gold,
    un tsvey gildeyn mezumene
    hot er far ir batsolt.
        khad gadyo…


mir hobn di heymishe flamen
shoyn tsendliker yorn gehit,
zey hobn oykh hinter di yamen
far undz azoy lib nokh geglit.
zey hobn undz glutik tsuzamen
in ring fun an ordn geshmidt.

un ale far eynem,
un eyner far al’—
baloykhtn in eynem
fun eyn ideal.
dem groysn, dem sheynem—
fun arbeter-klal!





Composer: Anonymous Composer: Samuel Bugatch
Composer: Mikhl Gelbart
Composer: Eugene Malek Composer: Meyer Posner
Composer: Marc Warshawsky Composer: Lazar Weiner

Length: 28:29
Genre: Choral

Performers: Robert Abelson, Baritone;  Russ Ashley, Bass;  Robert Bloch, Tenor;  Amy Goldstein, Soprano;  Richard Kosowski, Tenor;  Zalmen Mlotek, Arranger and Piano;  Elizabeth Shammash, Mezzo-soprano

Date Recorded: 12/01/2001
Venue: Lefrak Concert Hall/Colden Center for the Arts (F), Flushing, New York
Engineer: Lazarus, Tom
Assistant Engineer: Frost, David
Project Manager: Lee, Richard

Additional Credits:

Translation: Eliyahu Mishulovin


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