3: Song and lyrics, “A sikele, a kleyne,” performed by Beyle Shaechter-Gottesman, circa 1980.
Based on a poem by Avrom Reyzin, this song was popularized and folklorized, and was widely known and sung throughout the Yiddish-speaking world.
This version is performed by Beyle Shaechter-Gottesman, a poet, songwriter, singer, and advocate for Yiddish, who was born in Vienna, raised in Chernovitz, and who spent much of her adult life in the Bronx.
Suggested Activity: Compare the sukkah described in this song to the sukkahs in Oppenheim’s and Solomon’s artwork in this kit. How are the sukkahs physically similar and different? What functions does the sukkah serve in each? What are the socio-economic class considerations at play in each? What does each painting and what does the song express about the degree to which Jews felt comfortable, safe, and integrated within their societies? Invite your students to write their own song about a sukkah, thinking about what the sukkah symbolizes for them.
Source: "A sikele, a kleyne," folksong. Performed by Beyle Shaecter-Gottesman, circa 1980. Lyrics translated by Itzik Gottesman. Courtesy of Itzik Gottesman and the Center for Traditional Music and Dance's Yiddish Song of the Week blog: www.yiddishsong.wordpress.com. October 5, 2010. https://yiddishsong.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/a-sikele-a-kleyne-performed...