Erev Yom Kiper (The Eve of Yom Kippur)

Mordekhai Gebirtig

Mordekhai Gebirtig

English Lyrics

Erev yom kiper, shoyn triblekh in gas
Di zun royt fun bushe, tsi efsher fun kaas
Arop ergets nidert -
Der mayrev-zayt himl tsebrent.
S'iz erev yom kiper, nokh minkhe farnakht
Un do shteyen shuln, vi tfises farmakht
Oyf zeyere toyern
Di shleser vi keytn oyf hent

Erev yom kiper, shoyn mayrevdik nakht
Di yidishe geslekh fun soyne bavakht
Vi kinder farshemte
Farkhideshte shteyen atsind-
Gevoynt itst fun shuln tsu hern gezang-
Derhern fun zelnershe shtivl dem gang
Dos knaln fun biksn
Dos skomlen fun heymloze hint

Erev yom kiper - vi lang gor, vi lang?
In yidishe gas a tuml, a drang
Fun ale zaytn rogn
Der oylem tsum davnen shpant
Di benk un di shtenders in shuln bazetst -
Haynt shteyen zey leydik, farshemt un farletst
Zint hunderter yorn
Dos ershte mol haynt aza shand

Erev Yom kiper! A minyen di tsol
Farshpart in a shtub vi in shpanye amol,
Gehilt in taleysim
In droysn shteyt eyner un hit
Baym shayn funa yourtsayt, vos brent oyf der shank
Derhert zikh a kol, aza troyerik gezang,
Derhert zikh dos lid
Dos alte maranishe lid
Oy ve oy vey
Kol nidre!


The eve of Yom Kippur, the streets are in twilight
The sun red with shame, or perhaps with great rage
It's hovering lower
The sky in the west is aflame
It's the eve of Yom Kippur, in the calm of the evening
And there stand thttrtre synagogues, shut tight like
Their doorways locked up
Like hands shackled in chains

The eve of Yom Kippur, already grown dark
The enemy watches the small Jewish streets
How bewildered the children
Surprised for a moment
From the synagogue they expect voices in song
Instead they now hear the boots of the soldiers
The firing of rifles
The howling of dogs without homes

The eve of Yom Kippur - how much longer, how long?
In each Jewish street, the people press on
Fromerath's every corner
To arrive and to pray
To fill up the synagogue's lecturns and chairs
Today these stand idle, dishonored, forsaken-
Never in centuries
Has there been such disgrace

The eve of Yom Kippur! A minyen has gathered
Concealed in a house, as in Spain long ago
Wrapped in their prayer shawls -
While outside one stands, keeping watch
In the glow of a burning memorial candle
He hears a voice cry out a desolate song -
He hears the refrain
The Marrano's ancient refrain:
"O Sorrow, O woe,
Kol Nidre!"

clip here from Sidor Bilarsky's recording <a href="http://www.jewishmusic.


Added December 22nd, 1999