DER YIDDISH-VINKL December 26, 2003

Al Grand is not unknown to readers of Der Vinkl . On numerous occasions, we have carried his Yiddish translations of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, aka the Savoyards. Recently, he sent us the following fascinating story about a Bing Crosby conference he attended last year.

“Panelist Irving Saposnik,” he wrote, “read a paper titled ‘A Jewish Christmas With Bing Crosby and Irving Berlin.’ Linda Emmett, daughter of Irving Berlin, was one of the discussants. Following the lively discussion, I asked Mrs. Emmett how deeply her father was involved with Yiddish. She said that Berlin was quite fluent in Yiddish and that she clearly remembers that, as a child, she would hear him hold full conversations in Yiddish with relatives…. Assuming that Berlin may have known that Isaac Bashevis Singer grew up in the Polish shtetl of Bilgorey, I was impelled to write a Yiddish version of ‘White Christmas.’ as I imagine Berlin himself may have written it. Here then is Berlin’s original lyric followed by my Yiddish version.”

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

Just like the one I used to know.

Where the treetops glisten

And children listen

To hear sleigh bells in the snow.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

With every Christmas card I write.

May your days be merry and bright

And may all your Christmases be white

Ikh kholem fun a vaysn yontef

Punkt vi in shtetl Bilgorey

Vu di beymer blishtshen

Un kinder kvitshen

Ven zey hulyen inem shney.

Ikh kholem fun a vaysn yontef

Ven ikh gedenk fun langer tzayt

Zol zayn simkhes un gute nayes

Un zol yontef brengen shneyen vays.

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DER YIDDISH-VINKL December 26, 2003

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