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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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