The Official Leibele Waldman Blog

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Three Dictators

Over the years, hundreds of composers of Jewish music sent my father their original compositions in the hope that he would sing them on his radio show and consequently make them famous. Many in the field were aware of his sense of humor and that his preference was for the unique selection rather than the standard Yiddish tunes of the day including some that were quite humorous, an example of which was “Dus Fleschel” – The Flask - sung from the point of view of the flask. Another, written specifically for my father that he sung on the radio and at concerts but unfortunately never recorded, is called “The Three Dictators” which is a spoof of the famous Yiddish song, “A Chazzan Auf Shabbos.”

So how does a serious Cantor pull off a spoof of this kind? Perfect Yiddish, a theatrical flair, and a twinkle in your eye, was all that was needed, and indeed my father possessed all three.

Friday, March 2, 2012

ELEH EZKERAH (Martyrology Prayer)

As part of the penitential prayers of the Musaf Service on Yom Kippur, the traditional prayer book includes a martyrology of the death of the ten Rabbis for the Sanctification of G-d's Name. The events referred to, took place during the Hadrianic persecution following the year 135 C.E. With the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, in the year 70, the Jews had lost their Temple and their country, but not their independence. The fate meted out to the ten Rabbis is graphically depicted in the following version attributed to Rabbi Judah. *

It is not common today to hear the entire story in poetic form recited aloud.  While listening, follow along with a Machzor as my father interprets this meaningful prayer.

The prayer Sarfei Maloh, which is in the middle of ELEH EZKERAH has become a favorite amongst today's cantors.

* Background written by Rabbi Morris Silverman