Workshop Repertoire

The Colorado Hebrew Chorale 2012 workshop with Joshua Jacobson will include the following repertoire.


Al Naharot Bavel (By the Waters of Babylon)


A Hebrew setting of Psalm 137 by Salomone Rossi (c. 1570 – c. 1630).

Click here for Joshua Jacobson’s article about Rossi’s place in Renaissance Italian music.

The score is for TTBB.

All Sopranos sing the Tenor I line;

All Altos sing Tenor II;

All Tenors sing Bass I;

All Basses sing Bass II


Hebrew Transliteration:

Click Here to hear a recording. The singers in this version are Israeli and their pronunciation is excellent!


`Al naharot bâvel shâm yâshavnu gam-bâkhiynu bezâkherênu’et-tziyon

`Al-`arâviym betokhâh tâliynu kinnorotêynu

Kiy sham she’êlunu shovêynu divrêy-shiyr vetolâlêynu simchâh shiyru lânu mishiyr tziyon

‘Êykh nâshiyr ‘eth-shiyr-Adonay `al ‘admat nêkhâr

‘Im-‘eshkâchêkh Yerushâlâim tishkach yemiyniy

Tidhbaq leshoniy lechikkiy ‘im-lo’ ‘ezkerêkhiy ‘im-lo’ ‘a`aleh ‘et-yerushâlaim `al ro’sh simchâtiy

Zekhor Adonay livnêy ‘edhom ‘êt yom yerushâlâim hâ’omeriym`âru `âru `adh haysod bâh

Bath bâvel hashedudâh ‘ashrêy sheyshalem-lâkh ‘eth-gemulêkh shegâmalt lânu

‘Ashrêy sheyo’chêz venipêts’et `olâlayikh ‘el-hasâla`



By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

Upon the willows in the midst thereof we hanged up our harps.

For there they that led us captive asked of us words of song, and our tormentors asked of us mirth: ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’

How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem above my greatest joy.

Remember, O the Lord, against the children of Edom the day of Jerusalem; who said: ‘Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.’

O daughter of Babylon, that are to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that repays you as you have served us.

Happy shall he be, that takes and dashes your little ones against the rock.



We will be singing two Holocaust lullabies. The gentle melodies are in stark contrast to the graphic content of the lyrics. we will be singing both song in the original Yiddish.

Dremlen Faygl (Drowsing Birds)


Text by Leah Rudnicki, Music by Leyb Yampolski, Arranged by J. Jacobson


“In 1942 a young teacher and poet of the Vilna ghetto took into her home a baby who had been left homeless after it’s parents had been deported to the death camp. Soothing the child to sleep, she conceived the text of Dremln Faygl, imagining the happiness that once surrounded the cradle of the now motherless and fatherless child. She then set her lyrics to an existing tune by Russian-Jewish composer Leyb Yampolsky. ” (from the score notes by J. Jacobson)


Dremlen Feygl (Drowsing Birds)

Dremlen feygl af di tsvaygn,                                    Birds are dozing on the branches.
Shlof, mayn tayer kind.                                            Sleep my dear little one.
Bay dayn vigl, af dayn nare }                                  At your crib on an old wooden bench,
Zitst a fremde un zingt: } x2                                    A stranger sings to you.
Lyu-lyu, lyu-lyu, lyu.

S’iz dayn vigl vu geshtanen                                     There was a time when your crib

Oysgeflokhtn fun glik,                                              Was woven out of happiness.
Un dayn mame, oy dayn mame, }                          But now your mother, oh, your mother,
Kumt shoyn keyn mol nit tsurik } x2                     Will never return.
Lyu-lyu, lyu-lyu, lyu.

Kh’hob gezen dayn tatn loyfn                                 I have seen your father running,

Unter hogl fun shteyn,                                             Under a hail of stones
Iber felder iz gefloygn }                                           And his far and lonely wail
Zayn faryosemter geveyn. } x2                               Flew over the fields.

Lyu-lyu, lyu-lyu, lyu.


Makh tsu du Eygelekh (Close your Eyes)


From the Lodz Ghetto.

Text by Isaiah Shpigl (Spiegel), Melody by David Baygelman, Arranged by J. Jacobson

 Click here for a biography of Baygelman

“During the liquidation of the Lodz ghetto in summer 1944, writer Isaiah Spiegel hid some of his writings in a cellar. He took the rest to Auschwitz where they were seized upon his arrival. After the war, Spiegel returned to Lodz and found 16 of the hidden stories. He was able to reconstruct the rest from memory.” (from the United states Holocaust Museum website)


The first verse is sung as a refrain by the whole choir. Verses two and three are sung by soloists. everyone is invited to prepare a solo verse and audition. Click here for a wonderfully moving recording of the melody – this will help in learning the solo verses.


Makh tsu di eygelekh – ot kumen feygelekh                       Now close your little eyes, Soon little birds will come
un krayzn do arum tsukopns fun dayn vig                         And hover over the head of your crib.
dos pekl in der hant dos hoyz in ash un brandt                Bags in hand, our house- ashes and fire.
mir lozn zikh, mayn kind, zukhn glik.                                 I tell you, my child, we must seek our fortune.

di velt hot G-t farmakht un umetum iz nakht                   G-d has closed the world down, night is everywhere
zi vakht af undz mit shoyder un mit shrek.                       They’re waiting for us with shudders and shrieks
mir shteyen beyde do in shverer shverer sho                    You and I will endure very difficult times
un veysn nit vuhin s’firt der veg.                                          We have no idea where our paths will lead us.

men hot undz naket bloyz faryogt fun undzer hoyz          Stripped bare, we have been driven from our home
in fintsternish getribn undz in feld                                      Chased into the dark woods
un shturem, hogl, vint s’hot undz bagleyt, mayn kind,     Through storm, hail and wind                                                                                                       We have been led, my child,

bagleyt undz inem opgrunt fun der velt.                             Led to the abyss of the world.




Zol Shoyn Kumen Di Ge’ uleh

Text by Shmerke Kaczerginski, Melody by Abraham Isaac Cook, Arranged by J. Jacobson


Click here to read the amazing story of the poet survivor Kaczerginski


A Yiddish song of hope and redemption. The verses will be sung by soloist, and child survivor, Estelle Nadel. The choir sings the chorus. Go to the Listen page of this website for a live recording at the Denver School of the Arts.


Ongezolyet oyfn hartsn,                            Though our hearts are heavy

makht men a lekhayim,                             We will drink a toast
Oyb der umet lozt nit ruen–                     Even if the gloom gives us no rest

zingen mir a lid.                                          We will sing a song
Iz nito keyn bisl bronfn–                           If there’s not a drop of whiskey                                   

lomir trinken mayim,                                 Let’s drink water
Mayim-khaim iz dokh khayim–               Let’s drink water

                                                                        After all, fresh water is life

vos darf nokh der yid?                               What else do we need?



Zol shoyn kumen di geule 3X                        May redemption come!
Meshiekh kumt shoyn bald!                        The Messiah is coming very soon!



S’iz a dor fun kule-khayev,                         This is a guilty generation

zayt nit keyn naronim —                             Don’t be fools
Un fun zindikn — Meshiekh                       After all these sins, the Messiah

gikher kumen vet!                                       Surely will come                                   
Akh, du tatele, in himl,                               Ah, dear Father in Heaven

s’betn bney rakhmonim;                            The children of your mercy beseech You
Ze, Meshiekh zol nit kumen                      See to it that the Messiah doesn’t come                       

a bisele tsu shpet…                                     A little too late…


Zol shoyn….


S’tantsn beymer in di velder,                       Trees dance in the forest

shtern oyfn himl,                                           Stars are dancing in the sky
Reb Yisroel, der mekhutn,                           Mr. Yisroel, like the father of the bride                                   

dreyt zikh in der mit,                                    Is celebrating
S’vet zikh oyfvekn Meshiekh                       The Messiah will surely awaken                                    

fun zayn tifn driml                                        From his deep slumber
Ven er vet derheren                                      From his deep slumber

undzer tfiledike lid.                                      When he hears our prayerful song.


Zol shoyn….



Eliyahu Ha-Navi

“Eliyahu HaNavi”, in English, Elijah the Prophet is A Hebrew song entreating the prophet Elijah, an invited guest at the Passover meal, to return soon with the Messiah. This song is also part of the traditional Saturday night Havdalah service which celebrates the end of the Sabbath and the beginning of a new week. (Wikipedia)

We sing the traditional melody arranged by composer Viktor Ullmann. Click here to here the Vienna Jewish choir sing the arrangement we will be singing.

The following quote from Ullmann’s writings is from a biography  at http://holocaustmusic.ort.org/places/theresienstadt/ullmann-victor/

“it must be emphasized that Theresienstadt has served to enhance, not to impede, my musical activities, that by no means did we sit weeping on the banks of the waters of Babylon, and that our endeavour with respect to Arts was commensurate with our will to live. And I am convinced that all those who, in life and in art, were fighting to force form upon resisting matter, will agree with me.”


Ullmann was deported to Auschwitz on 16 October 1944, in one of the last transports, where he died in the gas chamber.



Eliyahu hanavi                                                     Elijah the prophet
Eliyahu hatishbi,                                                 Elijah the returning,
Eliyahu hagil’adi –                                               Elijah the giladi –

Bim’hera yavoh eleinu,                                       May he soon come to us,
Im mashiach ben David. (x2)                            With the messiah son of David. (x2)



Tsen Brider

Tsen Brider: A Jewish Requiem
Joshua R. Jacobson
In 1939 a Jewish choral conductor imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp organized a clandestine choir. The choir and its conductor managed to rehearse and perform secretly for three years. Sensing that the end was near, in 1942 the ensemble was rehearsing its own “Jewish Requiem” when the deportation order arrived. Neither the conductor nor any of his singers survived, but the “Jewish Requiem” did survive. This article chronicles the origins and fate of this unique composition.

Thus begins Dr Jacobson’s article about this remarkable piece, based on an old Russian Yiddish folk song.

Tsen Brider_ a Jewish Requiem  Click to read the whole article.

Click here to hear the original folk song


We were ten brothers,
We dealt in wine.
One of us died,
Nine of us remained.

We were nine brothers,
We dealt in freight.
One of us died,
Eight of us remained.

Yidl with your fiddle,
Gedalye with your bass
Play a little tune for me
In the middle of the street.

We were eight brothers,
We dealt in beets.
One of us died,
Seven of us remained.

We were seven brothers,
We dealt in baked goods.
One of us died,
Six of us remained.

We were six brothers,
We dealt in hose.
One of us died,
Five of us remained.

We were five brothers,
We dealt in beer.
One of us died,
Four of us remained.

We were four brothers,
We dealt in tea.
One of us died,
Three of us remained.

We were three brothers,
We dealt in lead.
One of us died,
Two of us remained.

We were two brothers,
We dealt in bones.
One of us died,
I am left alone.

I remain the only brother,
I deal in candles.
I die every day
Because I have nothing to eat.