We Have Old Songs, Too

Letter to the Editor

Published December 08, 2010, issue of December 17, 2010.

In Lenore Skenazy’s November 26 column, “Why I Go Caroling,” she marvels that the “caroling oeuvre… is so old,” and asks, “When else do people spontaneously sing songs ripped from the Middle Ages?”

I’d encourage her to learn some of the many beautiful Shabbat table songs, known as zemirot or piyyutim. While the lyrics are in medieval Hebrew verse, many of these songs boast a selection of old and new melodies to suit the mood of any Shabbat meal.

The songs are best enjoyed in the company of family and friends, whether or not they can carry a tune; a little wine and cholent don’t hurt, either.

David L. Lerner
New York, N.Y.



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