Monday, June 24, 2013


A couple of months ago my oldest grandson, who has just turned eleven!!! came to me and told me that his music teacher in school needs a song that is meaningful to the family and, if possible, has come down from generations past.

I thought for quite a while before choosing Ochi Cherneye. Here is a picture of Ivan Rebroff.
There are two versions on YouTube that I personally like: The Red Army Choir and this one by Ivan Rebroff.

My Zaidi A'H loved this song and sang it always to my Bubbie A'H, who he loved with all his heart until the day she died.

As he sang it, of course in Russian, my Mom A'H and my Tanti Helen learned it and they sang it. And when I was born, I quickly picked it up and to this day I can still sing the first verse in Russian. And, when I asked my brother David, he remembered it as well.

So, I Googled and YouTubed the song, printed out a copy and handed it to my grandson, explaining the background to him and why I chose that particular song.

The kid took it to school and the teacher went wild! Who knew she was Russian!!!

Roots. In the past whenever my kids or grandchildren asked me questions about the family for school it was for basic information so the kids would learn about where their family came from and how they got to Israel.

But this was different. This was music. And these kids in this religious school spent months learning about each other's heritage through music. 
One kid from America taught them The Hokey Pokey. Another kid taught them Ah Yiddisheh Mammeh...I cried. And Oifen Pripichik...I cried again. Another kid taught them Au Claire de la get the picture. Oh, and there were a lot of Moroccan and Hebrew songs too.

Each kid wrote about the song they were presenting and each family had to come sit on the stage while their child took the microphone and read what he'd written. 
This is what my kid wrote:
Ochi Cherneye has been in my family for generations since my Great-Great-Grandfather began singing it. My Great-Great-Grandfather Eliezer (Lazer) left Russia after the First World War and this is one of his favorite songs. He taught it to his daughter and she taught it to my Bubbie.
My Bubbie loved her grandfather so much that when my abba was born she named him after her Zaidi Eliezer but changed the letters to Ilan. That is how my abba got his name.
I would have cried but I had to go sit on the stage in front of all those kids and parents. I always cry at these things. Lots of reasons but I won't go into them now. So, there I was sitting on the stage with my daughter-in-law while my son was busy trying to take a video with my cell phone.

It was unbelievable! They had kids dressed up like gypsies playing cards to tell their fortunes (the teacher said their fortune showed they were excellent singers). Then they had other kids dressed up like peasants riding scooters with horse's heads attached to the handlebars!

Ahhhhh...but then a gorgeous man with a head full of snow white hair took the microphone and with a voice like Ivan Rebroff began to sing. The kids sang all the choruses and they clapped and danced around. It was really something!!!

When it was over, I shook hands with the amateur opera singer man and thanked the teacher and sat down.

I didn't cry until this morning when I listened to the video on my phone and looked over at sweetsy baby. This baby is a clone of my Dad A'H and every time he smiles at me...what can I tell you? I'm just so sorry my Mother A'H isn't alive to see this child.

Well, there I was sitting on the porch with the baby. Me on a plastic chair and him in his buggy. Early morning. Nice breeze. The music was playing and all of a sudden the kid broke into the hugest smile and began clapping his hands to the music! That was it!!! Don't ask!

Somewhere up in heaven my Zaidi is smiling. He never made it to Israel. But last night his great-great-grandson sang his favorite song in Jerusalem! My cup runneth over!

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.


At 3:48 PM, Blogger PsychotherapistBoulder said...

I'd write a comment but I'm too busy crying tears of joy.

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Val said...

Tears flowing... beautiful tradition!

At 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was just lovely!!! xo S.

At 6:06 PM, Anonymous Katherine said...

Such joy I feel reading your blog entry this morning. How wonderful to celebrate and learn from one another through music passed down through family.
Much love to you Aunt Marallyn!!

At 6:07 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

thanks dovid...was takkeh something!

At 6:08 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

thank you val!!! zei gezunt...miss you so much

At 6:08 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

thanks anonymous who ever you are

At 6:08 PM, Anonymous c said...

ps i love your blogs...c

At 6:08 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

thanks c and i love you too!!!

At 6:09 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

Tender, loving, and incredibly sweet. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes, thinking, with great love, of my "family members" who are no longer here, but whom I miss constantly !

At 6:09 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

tx guv...i know what you mean!

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous k said...

Shalom Marallyn,
I love your blogs/website !!!! We grew up with that song ;my Dad played it and hummed it all the time. At family Bar Mitzvahs it was always played…who new??? my sister sends her love.
Keep up the Blogs… I love them and love you! Hugs to your beautiful family.

At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you k and love to you and your sister...wish you were here!!!

At 6:11 PM, Anonymous naomi said...

bautiful. I remember Joe singing some song he made up about Nutmeg the cat, to the tune of "Sweet Betsy from Pike"
Oh. And Raggedy Ann.

Stop making me cry this early!!!

Love you,

At 6:12 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

those were really good special days naomi...yup and i love you too!

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous karen said...

That is very touching. I seem to remember your mom singing the song around your house. Kudos to the teacher for being so creative and encouraging musical tradition.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

hi karen...yup...and like i wrote a moment ago those were really special good days...miss you my dear friend

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous ros said...

What a beautiful story – I almost cried reading it. Kol Hakavod to you and Roey

At 6:13 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

hiiiiiiiiiiiii my friend...thank you so much!!!

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous bubbles said...


That was absolutely beautiful.Keep them coming - I love reading them over and over...


At 6:15 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

bubbles!!! thank you so love to you and the family!

At 6:16 PM, Anonymous susan said...

Oh, M, I just read your email, and I am
amazed, overjoyed, and so proud of you,
and Roey. What a beautiful tribute-you
teaching Roey the song and all of the
history behind it, and all of your relatives,
Bless their souls

At 6:16 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

sunshine!!! love you! thanks so so so much!!!

At 6:17 PM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

thank you so much understand the value of family and history...i'm blessed to have you in my family!!!


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