Thank you to all who attended the Holocaust Remembrance service on April 18th. It was a moving experience for me and I was told it also was for those in attendance by those who came up to me afterwards. Special thanks to Rabbi Richard Eisenberg for helping me with the Hebrew songs, Eric Paradine who played guitar, Sally Bergad who was our excellent program chair, Mom, Joe Crookston who gave his blessings for me to perform his wonderful song “Blue Tattoo” and many others.
Below is a recording of one of the songs I performed, “Hatikvah,” but first some background:
In 1878 a poem was written by Naphtali Herz Imber in Galicia, Autro-Hungary called “Tikvateinu,” meaning “Our Hope.” A selection of this poem was eventually adopted as the national anthem of the state of Isreal. Originally nine stanzas, portions of that poem were sung by Czech Jews at the entry ways of the gas chambers at Auschwitz -Birkenau; this was reported by a former member of the Sonderkommando. While they were singing selections from Hatikvah, they were severely beaten by SS troops.
There also can be found on YouTube a video/audio recording of a BBC radio broadcast, which is one of the most moving records of the Holocaust, of Jews who were newly liberated in 1945 from the concentration/death camp of Bergen-Belson. Knowing they were being recorded, and though emaciated and weak, they sang “Hatikvah.” After which a voice can be heard proclaiming in Hebrew “The people of Isreal live.”
In this a cappella arrangement of “Hatikvah,” the refrain is different than the modern national anthem of Isreal; it is sung with the words of the “Tikvateinu” poem, as they were originally sung by the liberated Jews at Bergen-Belsen. The second verse is the ninth stanza of the poem (sung in Hebrew) that translates in English to:
Hear, O my brothers in the lands of exile,
The voice of one of our visionaries
(Who declares) That only with the very last Jew —
Only there is the end of our hope
The national anthem of “Hatikvah,” as it is sung today, is sung by the congregation gathered at Beth El Synagogue on April 18th, with myself, Cantor Theodore Perry and Rabbi Richard Eisenberg leading.
Wikipedia source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatikvah
YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syUSmEbGLs4&ob=av3e
*Songwriter (of “Blue Tattoo”), Joe Crookston’s site: www.joecrookston.com