Emanuel Amiran (Fugaczow)
A Dream and a Memory
Translated by Ada Holtzman
The writer of this book has a great privilege in saving no efforts and hard work to research among the visible and hidden treasures of Jewish culture and collect precious stones to complete this grand chain. He connected the works and their creators and unified the spiritual structures with their builders.
His great innovation is that he presented a wonderful gallery of creative personalities, and thus he exposed a special branch of a deep-rooted Jewish culture, which to our dismay, ceased to exist physically, but will continue to live by its various variations and metamorphosis in Israel and in the Diaspora. This Jewish "oversoul" – poets, composers, educators and cantors – of which Polish Jewry was blessed with – come back to life while you read the pages of this book and the heart overflows with pride to see the long line of impressive and picturesque personalities who contributed so much to build the hall of grand culture of this Jewish dynamic community on the land of Poland.
Their tones echo clearly in the singing and playing music of the Jews of the entire world. Since those songs and melodies derived their vitality from popular and old origins, from the real springs of their religious and popular Melos of past generations, they were absorbed in the soul of the people.
Millions of people – and it is not an exaggeration – quenched their thirst, from early childhood and until very old age, by the springs of the cordial real and deep music and accepted it as self evident. They did not even believe, that behind each song and each chant, there is a living image of a creator; the image of someone who loved and suffered, who felt deeper and looked higher, and incessantly searched a better expression to his inner self and those of his brothers, his fate and those of his brothers.
Can you imagine that "dos lid fon rabeinu tam" (the song of Rabeinu Tam), "Holiet holiet" (cheer up and rejoice), "hemerel klap" (hammer knock), "sbrent" (shtetl burns), and many others, are works of living persons' flesh and blood and not "nature phenomena", which we are used to accept as they are.
Not only the holy and the secular, labor and suffering, exaltation and depression, miserable hardship which musicians, mostly unknown, expressed in their works, but also the secret and endless longings of a nation who had a dream of salvation; a nation which inspired to return to its origins, to its true homeland, to Eretz Israel. Those tones echo powerfully in those songs.
How much might, how much feelings to the biblical labndscapes of Eretz Israel burst out from songs like "the dance of Metzada", "Bar Yochai", "Carry flags to Zion" and many others, which tens of thousands of children in Israel sing until today with real enthusiasm. Even though those songs were created in the Diaspora' they are loved by Israeli children the "sabres" who were born and raised in a completely different atmosphere and conditions. The advantage and greatness of these songs, is that they penetrated every heart, even those who did not know the folklore of the Jewish town, the Jewish village or the Jewish shtetl of Poland.
Those melodies and songs embraced, like a loving mother, the soul of a persecuted and motherless people, which only had very short periods of peace in its long path of agony. The folkloristic artists found the proper way of expressing also state of mind of joy and faith.
This book is an endless treasure to all lovers of Israel, to every educator who desires to disperse the Jewish deeply-rooted culture and teach the values of Jewish art, in every single place in the whole world.
Back to Issachar Fater: Jewish Musicians in Poland between the Two World Wars
Last updated March 14th, 2006