Album Review

When I was a Kid

by Arik Einstein and Yoni Richter

Below is a song (words only) from a newly released children's album by Arik Einstein and Yoni Richter. I highly recommend the album. Though it is targeted towards kids 2-8, I would use this for older kids as well. The Hebrew is so easy that the kids can master many of the songs. They can feel good about being able to read and then sing songs in Hebrew that they understand and are fun. As an adult, I also really like it. It's up there with Jerry Garcia's "Not for Kids Only" as listenable kids music.

"Kama She'ratziti Kelev/Oh, How I Wanted a Dog" is about a child who wants a dog and his father brings home a cat instead. "Giveret im Salim/Basket Lady" is a funny song about a women who gets on the bus with so many baskets of groceries that there isn't any room for others to sit down. There are two companion songs, "Shutafim(Partners)" and "Hitpaysut (Reconciliation)" that are about broken friendship and subsequent making up.

The song below, "Shabbat Ba'boker" is a Shabbat song with no reference ritual or practice. In a way that only an Israeli song can express, it communicates a deep sense of how joyous Shabbat can be (see my comments below the song). It is upbeat and jazzy. My children (seven and four) have been belting out the chorus.

This album is available at Amazon.com. I'm not an Amazon partner and receive no kickback. I'm providing the link for your convenience. Click here to go to this album on Amazon.com.

Rabbi Shai

Shabbat Morning
words by Tirtzah Atar

Shabbat (Saturday) morning, it's a beautiful day.
Mom drinks a lot of coffee.
Dad reads a lot of newspaper.
And for me, they buy a lot of balloons.

We can go to the Yarkon river and sail there on a sail boat,
Or walk to the end of our street and come back.
Maybe we can pick flowers, at least the ones that we are allowed to.
And we can walk
to my pre-school,
and see
that it is closed!

(Translated by Shai Gluskin.)

Rabbi Shai's Comments
This short song communicates the simplicity and joy of Shabbat. Whether it is a lot of coffee, newspaper or balloons, each member in the family gets to be pampered. And as for what to do, the child ponders something grand like sailing down the Yarkon river in a sail boat. But then he retreats to more simple and achievalbe visions of fun that are probably just as fun.

I believe this song/poem fits into a classic genre of Shabbat Z'mirot, Sabbath hymns. One of the sub-genres of Sabbath hymns are songs which describe what people actually do on Shabbat. "Ma Yedidut" fits this genre well as well as "Menucha v'Simcha." In this Israeli version, life itself can sustain the feeling of Shabbat without the need for religious ritual or observance.

Click here to e-mail me your comments at shai@gluskin.org.

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