Happy 5770!

Jesse Brown, a BoingBoing guest-blogger, is the host of TVO's Search Engine podcast.

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Let's hope it's a sweet one! No better way to kick it off then with this sweet classic from Moishe Oysher and the Barry Sisters, Halevai.

What a tour de force! Check Oysher's vocal gymnastics as he bounces off of the Barry Sisters' harmonies! He coulda been one hell of a freestyle rapper...

This song makes me happy every time I hear it.


  1. Party like it’s… 5799?

    I dunno, I think 5770 is too far off to make a good century joke. I mean, did we of the Gregorian calendar make century jokes in the 1970s? (I don’t know, I was just a sparkle.)

    To quote LeVar Burton, L’Shanna Tova y’all…!

  2. An old century joke (and related, too) is that the year in the Jewish Calender is 5770, while the Chinese calendar reads 4706. Which means for over 1000, years, we Jews had no chinese food!

    (like I said, its old)

  3. Thanks Jesse, that was brilliant. The first time I have heard the Barry Sisters, they are a 10. I listened to the string of other presentations that your post prompted, On YouTube, a bonus.

    That reminded me that Chaim Topol is giving a farewell performance as Tevye in ‘ Fiddler on the roof”.Toronto Dec 8 -Jan 10.A perfect Xmas gift for my grand-daughters. L’Chaim.

  4. Another album worth listening to is Theo Bikel doing Yiddish theater songs. It was on Elektra. Don’t know if it’s still in print. It needed twice the liner notes. I spoke to some older friends who spoke Yiddish and they knew the songs and filled in what was missing.
    Something else missing from America is the kind of harmonies in this song.
    I recall being in San Francisco one night and three young ladies started singing in the complex harmonies of the Andrews Sisters. They quickly drew a crowd.

  5. Puh leeze. This is 5770, Jesse. You know there’s a dance remix of this available somewhere, for the modern on-the-go Jewish cookie raver.

    Day-glo yarmulke, pacifier, glow sticks…

  6. Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
    Some meshugenah schmendrick scheduled talk like a pirate day today?
    OY VEY !

  7. As an atheist i hope one day great cultural songs can be enjoyed by everyone without anyone caring about the religious connection.

    p.s. the best line is about the keg of beer

  8. i’m stuck editing a terrible show all weekend, and this song is the only thing giving me a boost. thanks! it’s truly beautiful stuff…

  9. Me too but I am referring to a world where NOONE cares about religion, I expect spirituality but lets enjoy our species without the religious connection. Like ancient greek art, its beautiful and we can appreciate it but everyone who gave those works religious meaning is thankfully long dead, hence i can appreciate the art without listening to some fool talk about zeus and mount olympus.

  10. Thanks for shitting-up a good post with your tedious anti-religious zealotry, Arghmonkey. I knew something was missing from all this.

  11. Well Arghmonkey, sorry to rain on your intolerance parade but this is a secular song, so your comment was superfluous… This is the kind of music that my (very, very secular) elders jammed to when they were fresh off the boat out of the shtetl…. it’s a love song, not a praise song.

    Just to be pedantic and for the sake of argument, however, one could argue (see: Michael Wex’s book Born to Kvetch) that yiddish is a language inextricably tied to religion so all songs in the yiddish tradition are, by nature, derived from the Jewish religious tradition. So in that case it would be a “religious” song.

    So you can see, as unpleasant as religious often is, it is a part of ALL western culture that needs to be understood and perhaps even appreciated if you want to be culturally literate. Atheism is all well and good, however you don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water. Just sayin’

    L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem to all my fellow heebs, and thank you Jesse for this wonderful bit from the golden age of Yiddish song.

  12. Im with you Lyddie except there is one thing your totally, 100% wrong about, im not being intolerant, intolerance doesn’t enter the equation here.

    I tolerate religion all the time, im simply feeling sorry for our species because we integrate silly fairy tales into our culture and lives, I get that it happens, i’m just digging too deep apparently.

    If a childs favourite memory is going to christmas mass or lighting a menorah or having a big dinner with family when the sun sets, it may be a great memory, it may be touching and warm and feel good but I resent having religion hijack peoples lives.

    I also resent macdonalds marketing to little kids so that when they grow up they think of the fast food giant fondly.

    Its all shameful of our species, were better then this, some of us see that.

  13. Wow Arghmonkey, you seem to care an awful lot about religion for not caring about religion.

    Or am I reading this threadjack wrong?

    I found this tune and video delightful! Watching it next to Meet The Elements made me home for a TMBG version. Or vice versa.

  14. @ArghMonkey
    Thanks for your post, you haven’t shytend the thread at all. Thinskinners upset easily when someone points out that the king in their parade has no clothes on.

  15. First, in regards to the video: Bleh.. soemthing about the vocal stylings, or the tempo of the song, grates on my ears like fingernails on a chalkboard. Kinda wanted to throw my computer across the room.

    I guess the one guy had a pretty nice voice though.


    Arghmonkey, I’m an atheist too, but I vehemently disagree with your seeming ascertation that religion’s very existence is a detriment to the entire human race.

    I am relatively sure that many of those children with “favorite memories” based around one of those examples you provided would be extremely insulted to have it compared to McDonald’s advertising.

    And rightfully so. That’s REALLY insulting.
    Who are you to say one person’s way of making their lives happier and more complete is wrong. IMHO, the only time it’s right to bitch about religion is when it works its way into politics and starts affecting other people (I’m lookin’ at you, Prop 8 bigots). Or when someone accosts you on the street to preach, I suppose (that’s bloody annoying).

    Otherwise, my goodness! Let people be happy! Happiness in this world is a difficult enough thing to achieve.


  16. Just wanna mention, Arghmonkey:
    Judaism is about a lot more than just religion. It’s a culture and an ethnicity, one that’s grown over the years to encompass a lot of different schools of thought. My great uncle is a Jewish Buddhist, and I am a Jewish Atheist…and we’re far from unusual within the culture.
    This thread hijacking of yours: it’s pretty disrespectful, and shows a lot of ignorance on your part. This is a happy holiday! Nobody wants to have to have to babysit your insecurities and justify the existence of Jewish traditions to you! We have to do that often enough for the Christians!

    So to get back on topic, happy New Year everyone!
    This post brightened my morning!

    -Magnetic Crow

  17. Ok, if we want to get into this we can, guess I started it anyway …

    If a psychic goes around telling people that their loved ones miss them etc then you would be ok with that? You wouldnt see anything wrong with that? live and let live as long as it made people happy? even if its a lie?

    At least Mcdonalds is a real place and the happy meal can be had by all, religion is just faith, not reality, there is no higher power, thats a fact, you (meaning anyone) can have faith in a “god” but thats not fact.

    So people get insulted to be told the psychic is a liar, so what? truth should be the goal and it needs to be if our species wants to survive, we have got rid of lots of superstition and stupidity, lets keep working on stamping it out, sure kids dont want to hear that Santa Claus isent real but isent that part of growing up? the maturing process? You might say “maybe we shouldnt lie to the in the first place?” and I would agree completely, maybe we should strive for a society thats logical and intelligent, if we dont we end up with an evangelical incharge of the worlds largest military power, a president who thought he had to do his part to bring about the second coming of his god.

    Theres no compromise here, science and religion, fact and faith cant co-exist, 2 + 2 = 4, anyone is welcome to delude themselves and think 2 + 2 = 9 but they would be wrong and in the case of religion it integrates itself into peoples lives, so if it were as easy as saying “keep it within your home only” that might be alright but its clear thats impossible, just look at whats going on in the u.s.

    I am not interested in insulting anymore but selling lies to people isent acceptable, faith is akin to fairy tales and the only people that should fall for that are toddlers and the mentally ill, trying to “contain” religion doesnt work either and its poison seeps out and chokes real progress while exploiting the fear of people.

    Religion needs to be stopped, period, but more specifically its SHAMEFUL, SHAMEFUL, that so much of human culture is tied to religion, what a shame for our specoes that we arent evolved enough to wipe out such insanity, its sad.

  18. WOW!

    I am a half Irish-Catholic, half German-Episcopalian, and that was AWESOME! ^L^

    Just wonderful, thank-you Boing-Boing!!

    – Thomas

  19. Dear Boing Boing, I’m Jewish and loved the clip. Thanks!

    And at this time Eid for Muslims (the end of Ramadan) how I wish you found a way to commemorate that somehow.

    Muslims in the US are in a less secure position that many other religious communities.

    I hope Muslims in America feel good and happy about being Muslims and Americans this year. I hope the next twelve lunar or solar months see a world at peace.

  20. Ok, if we want to get into this we can …

    There’s no “it” to “get into”. You saw a clip and decided that it was a religious song. I guess you didn’t listen to it, or get to the bit where the singer wishes he was a keg of beer. Then you decided that your atheist sensibilities were hurt and spouted off some nonsense about appreciating things without the religious connection. But you are incapable of appreciating things, with or without a religious connection – because you’re too full of yourself to actually pay attention to them. As this case shows.

  21. @Anon #22 – “We have to do that often enough for the Christians!”

    Funny how you cant see the irony of this statement and end up totally discrediting yourself.

    Ill say it again, religion playing any part in our culture is shameful.

    @Talia – Would you be ok with a psychic going around telling people that they can contact their dead relatives? why not? it makes them feel good, but are you alright with them being lied to?

    At least mcdonalds is real, the facts show there is no higher power, thats why its called faith, just like little kids have in santa claus.

    Is it insulting for people to be told the truth? sometimes it is, the purpose isent to insult anyone, truth matters and one look at the u.s. is evidence enough for why religion needs to be opposed. Its not enough to ignore it, pretend it doesnt matter and u end up with an evangelical president who thinks he has to do his part in bringing about the second coming of his god.

    Its not enough to just seek the truth, u have to hate the lie, its shameful that our species still clings to religion, like an immature kid who wants to believe the tooth fairy is real.

    1. the facts show there is no higher power

      Your reasoning powers are weak, young ArghMonkey. The facts neither prove nor disprove that proposition.

  22. a Ramadan song from Sami Yusuf, the guy who in my opinion is to Islamic music what R&B-style-Gospel is to contemporary Christian music.

    Happy Ramadan from your fellow daughter of Abraham.

  23. Jesse,

    Thanks for the nice vid. If only Jewish culture secular music was still fun. ב“ה that recordings of so much fun yiddish tunes still exist!

    Shana Tova to alla y’all, here’s hoping that 5770 brings much happiness!

    P.S. ARGHMONKEY, even your dickery cant spoil the sweetness of the new year. What did us Jews ever do to you personally that you had to piss on this thread?

  24. @SATMAN: What, there can’t be Yiddishe pirates? “Arr!! Keel haul the geezer till he gives up his geld, then put him in schtuch! Meshuggener thinks he can keep schtum with me!” (My apologies; ‘pirate talk’ is actually Devonshire dockworker’s slang, so I figured I’d mix it up with what little Cockney Yiddish I could remember. If I have inadvertently offended anyone, I apologize. )

  25. @Antonius – Yes your technically correct, just like I cant say my cell phone isent secretly a god.

    Reality as best we can tell has no higher power, but thats a very technical way of looking at it and it just invites the whack jobs who will say things like “evolution isent a fact, its just a theory”.

    There is no god, no higher power, people who want to believe there is a higher power might as well believe that Santa Claus lives at the north pole or that they are actually inside a matrix-like virtual machine right now.

    I dont have to prove there isent a god, theres no proof of one at all.

  26. @26 – You obviously missed too many of my posts in this thread.

    @31 – Are you serious?

    A few here need to just take a deep breath and try to understand what I have said.

    This is what happens when you try to talk about religions influence on culture.

    A few of you seem ridiculous because you lash out without even knowing whats really going on.

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