Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year

Well here we are in 2010. Amazing how time flies. I have a question for each of you. Do you plan on making significant changes in this new decade? If so what type of changes do you think you'll make? How will the Twin Tiers change? What about the world? WOW - That's a lot of thinking. But what else can one do in these cold days that surround us. I must admit we've been lucky thus far after hearing from friends living in other areas about their weather. Well my hope is that you'll answer these questions for yourselves if not for the community. One of my main concerns is WHEN CAN I PLAY GOLF ? Have a great New Year. Healthy-Happy-& Prosperous

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hanukkah Songs That Never Quite Caught On

- Oy to the World
- Schlepping through a Winter Wonderland
- Hava Negilah - The Megamix
- Bubbie Yetta Got Run Over by a Reindeer
- Matzo Man (by the Lower East Side Village People)
- I Have a Little Dreidel (the Barking Dog Version)
- Come on Baby, Light My Menorah
- Deck the Halls with Balls of Matzos
- Silent Night? I Should Be So Lucky

I know most of the words to only one song. How many do you know? How many can you make up? Have fun.....Happy Chanukkah

Thursday, December 3, 2009

You Are Invited...

Below are two web addresses that belong to Congregation Shomray Hadath. The first is our newly designed internet Web site. Please take your time and click all the items on the side bar. We are currently working on more items for the side bar but we wanted to get this out there so you could enjoy all the work up to this point.. We hope to add more pictures and special event planning and a calendar.

If you have a Misheberach Request please fill out the form on the web page and we will be sure to act upon your request as soon as possible. When you tab the item HISTORY, at the bottom you will find an attachment which says OUR CONSTITUTION.

The other web site is our blog. Please look that over as well and if you would care to comment on our web page or any topic you desire please do so on our BLOG. Remember a BLOG is just like an email only it can be viewed by all.

Website address:

Weblog (short name Blog) address:

President David Siskin

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jewish Music

I want to talk about MUSIC. There are many styles and genres. On this blog I think it best to speak of Jewish Music. The first piece of music I'd like to mention is a melody from the late 1800's to the early 1900's. One of the most popular Yiddish lullabies, regarded by many as a "true folk song" Der alef-beyz (The Aleph Bet, or The ABC), or, as it is commonly known Oyfn pripetshok (On the Hearth). Here is the story behind this wonderful song. But first the words:

On the hearth a little fire is burning,
And it is hot in the house,
And the rebbe is teaching the little children.
The Aleph Bet.

Study, children, with great interest,
That is what I tell you;
He who'll know his lessons first,
Will get a banner for a prize. (Refrain)

When you get older, children,
You will understand that this alphabet
Contains the tears and the weeping
of our people.

When you grow weary, children
And burdened with exile,
You will find comfort and strength
within this Jewish alphabet. (Refrain) Refrain:
See now children, remember dear ones,
What you've learned here;
repeat it again and again
Aleph with kametz is "o"!

This lullaby has an interesting history. Its author Mark
Warshawsky (1840-1907) was not a professional poet, composer or performer.
His songs, however, came to be sung along with the oldest Yiddish folk songs
in Eastern Europe and wherever Yiddish-speaking Jews resided. He authored
some fifty texts and tunes. Even before they were published, more than
twenty of these songs became household songs in many Jewish homes in the
Pale of Settlement (the territory within the borders of czarist Russia where
the residence of Jews was legally authorized), and it became officially
known that Warshawsky was their creator.
Mark Warshawsky's songs mirror his abounding love for his
oppressed, poverty-stricken people under Czarism of the 1880s and 1890s.
Simple, direct, musically familiar to the folk ear, retaining the folk
idiom, his songs deal with the period of disillusionment and suffering
wrought by the pogroms, the migrations to America, the yearning for Zion,
the daily concerns of the average Jew in the Pale. The success of
Warshawky's songs was immediate, especially after they were published in
1899 with an introduction of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem. Both men became
associated as traveling performers, with Sholem Aleichem reading his stories
and Warshawsky singing his songs before Jewish audiences. The most popular
of all of Warshawsky's songs, regarded by most people as a "true" folk-song,
is Der alef-beyz (The ABC) or, as it is commonly known Oyfen Pripetshok (On
the hearth). Warshawsky was the last folk bard of the nineteenth century,
bridging the gap between the songs in folk style and the Yiddish art songs
of the twentieth century.
The melody from Warshawsky’s song was later used as a theme in the film
based on the life of George Gershwin. During the Nazi Holocaust it was used
as a ghetto song: "At the ghetto wall a fire burns, the surveillance is keen." And in the Soviet Union in the 1960s, it became a theme song sung clandestinely by Jewish activists; the closing words were reworded thus: "Even should they beat you or throw you on the pyre, repeat kometz-aleph-o."
So the next time you hear or, even better, sing any of these
beautiful lullabies hopefully to your grandchild and their grandchildren
too, remember the wonderful heritage and culture of which these lullabies
were born.
Zei Gezunt


One of the nicest new CSH events for me is the Havdalah get togethers. Notice that I didn't say service. There is a service. It is brief, it lets us sing, smell pleasant spices and watch a candle flicker. These are all relaxing, mellow moments but not the reason that I like the Havdalahs. I like them because there is discussion, discussion that helps to make Judaism meaningful. That's not to say deep and profound insights are made but, still it brings Judaism up to date. Also religion for me is about being in a community. Havdalahs bring our community together in gentle low key activity (contrasting with the exuberant partying of Vacation Send Off- which is great but in a different way.
Its a Charverah , a gathering of friends.