Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
News

DER YIDDISH-VINKL January 24, 2003

Poverty! How does one sing a lullaby to an infant born in poverty, living in poverty and growing up in poverty? The answer, according to some Yiddish lullabies, is to enlist the powers of love. One such fireside song at dusk is “In an Orem Shtibele,” a work popular during the 1930s with words by Moyshe Korman (1884-1928) and music by Michl Gelbart (1889-1966). The full text with music appears in “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry, a compilation by Eleanor and Joseph Mlotek. The English version is by Gus Tyler.

In an Orem Shtibele

In an orem shtibele

Ovnt-tsayt baym koymen;

Shpint a libe muter

Far dem kind irs troymen;

Zingt zi im a lidele,

Patsht er mit di hentlekh;

Zingt dos gantse shtibele,

Zingen mit di ventlekh.

REFRAIN

Patshe, patshe, kikhelekh,

Oytserl, mayn sheyner;

Tate’t koyfn shikhelekh

Zunele, mayn kleyner.

Tate’t koyfn sfikhelekh,

Mame’t shtrikn zeklekh;

Tate’t koyfn ferdelekh

Mame’t onton gleklekh.

Ot azoy in shtibele

Hersht i glik, i freydn,

Zayt bay zayt mit oremkayt

Voynt dort a gan-eydn.

Greser iz di libe dort,

Greser iber ales

Shtarker iz di libe dort

Shtarker fun dem dales.

In a Poor Little House

In a poor and tiny house

Evening at the fireside,

A mother spins her pretty dreams

It’s for her child, her love and pride.

She sings to him a little song

And he keeps time with clapping hand

The happy walls do sing along

Together they’re a happy band

REFRAIN

So clap your hands and fill the air

Mama knits you socks, a pair

Papa’ll buy you shoes most fair,

My lovely child, without compare.

Papa’ll buy you shoes so fair

Mama’ll knit you socks, a pair

Your dad will buy a horse most rare

And I’ll add bells to give them flair.

And so ’twill be in our small house

Though we’re as poor as starving mice

Side by side with poverty

We make our private paradise

Greater is the love we share

Greater than all else you see.

With love there’s nothing does compare

For love can conquer poverty.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.