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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Lebedike yesoymim (Children of divorced parents) - a Yiddish warning and lament.

UPDATE: Reposted to add this video:


Mappamundi performs Yiddish theater songsOr you can click the album cover to listen to and/or buy this track, Lebedige yesoimim, and all the others from our cd Nervez!

Randy Kloko sings this luscious waltz, Aviva Enoch plays piano. This song is the most obscure of three by the same name. The other two songs can be found in sheet music form, one with words by Max Zavodnik / music by Henry A. Russotto, the other by "Samuel Secunda."

This one, which Itzik Zhelonek cited as a song performed by Herman Fenigstein, I transcribed from Fenigstein's own recording, found at the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture.

Though the title is often translated 'lively orphans,' in this case it means 'children whose parents are still living, but who due to divorce now live like orphans.' The song changes point of view, from omniscient narrator to the orphan(s), sometimes addressing the parents, sometimes the children, sometimes God.

Divorce and its effect on children is an unusual theme for a Yiddish song. Have a listen, I think Randy kills it.




Though Zhelonek took down the words shtub-mame un shtub-tate (house-mom and house-dad), and though he is citing the very recording I have (which is a rare happenstance!), I listened carefully and think Fenigstein is singing shtif-mame un shtif-tate (stepmother and stepfather). Also, inexplicably, Zhelonek's text gives shoyn dayn zind mer nisht dermonen, which is the opposite of what is sung.

Transliteration and translation below:

Ven tate mame geyen zikh sheydn
Bageyen zey di greste zind
Eltern zet dem get oystsumaydn
Vayl laydn durkh dem vet ayer kind
keyn heym iz nisht do, es hot nisht keyn ort
a shtub-tate do, a shtub-mame dort,
imer un eybik dos zelbe geshray
a shtub-kind a fremder, gey, vayter geyt

Vayl a kind on a heymele
iz a opgehakt beymele
keyn freyd keyn glik iz far dir nishto
keyn tate keyn mamenyu!
Oy lebedik yesoymele
Dir felt a heymele
eyl rakhum vekhanun
shoyn dayn zind mer nisht dermonen
un mir dayn yesoymele

When father and mother split up they commit the greatest sin.
Parents, avoid a divorce
Because your children will suffer from it
There is no home, there is no place
A stepfather here, a stepmother there,
Always the same cry:
A stepchild, a stranger, "go away!"

Because a child without a home is a little chopped-off tree
No happiness, no luck for you
No father no mother!
Oh, living orphan, you lack a home
Merciful God
You forget your sin
And we are your orphans

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