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DER YIDDISH-VINKL November 5, 2004

Ruth Rubin’s book “Jewish Folk Songs,” published about a half-century ago, remains one of the treasure troves of Yiddishkeit in America. The multitalented Rubin was a performer, a recording artist and a translator of Yiddish folk songs into English. What follows is one of her masterpieces, titled “Sheyn Bin Ikh, Sheyn.”

Sheyn Bin Ikh, Sheyn

Sheyn bin ikh, sheyn, sheyn iz oykh mayn nomen

Redt men mir shidukhim mit groyse rabonim.

Rabonishe toyre iz dokh zeyer groys

Bin ikh bay mayn mamen a likhtike royz.

A sheyn meydele bin ikh

Bloye zekelekh trog ikh,

Gelt in di tashn;

Bir in di flashn.

Vayn in di krigelekh

Kinder in di vigelekh.

Shrayen vi di tsigelekh

Meh, meh, meh.

I’m So Pretty

I am so pretty, pretty’s what they call me

Mother’s looking for a rabbi she wants me to marry.

Wisdom of the Torah is better far than money

Mother’s very proud of me, her sweet, rosy honey.

Pretty, pretty, that am I

I wear socks, blue like the sky.

Wine in the brown jugs

Beer in the green mugs.

Money’s pretty hard to keep

In the cradles, babies weep.

Like the little woolly sheep

Meh, meh, meh.

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