Staying Home Because of Coronavirus Brings Just What the Doctor Ordered: A Fiddler On the Roof

A Fiddler (or at least a guitarist) On the Roof



I hope that you will enjoy this lovely video. It shows the simple pleasure – and stress-reduction – that comes from singing and connecting with neighbors. The song, familiar to many, is Bashanah Haba’ah – an Israeli song about hope amidst crisis. The chorus predicts: “You will yet see how good it will be next year.” The song begins with the words, “Next year, we will all sit on our balconies and count the migrating birds.”

So, here are the Jerusalemites, sitting on their balconies, counting birds, counting neighbors, bringing joy and hope to one another. About 57 seconds in, the Fiddler shouts “כוּלָם” meaning “Everyone!” and you can hear people joining in from their balconies. At about 1:55, he says in Hebrew, “Let’s sing together” and adds in English “Sing!” They dance and sway, too.

The bandleader changes the ending slightly – from Bashanah Haba’ah (“next year” or, more literally, “the coming year”) to Bashanah Hakrovah (“the year that is coming soon” or, more literally, “the close year”). “Hakrovah” comes from the Hebrew root k.r.v., which gives us the word for relatives (k’rovim) and for Temple sacrifices (korbanot – rituals that brought our ancestors closer to God). So the new ending of the song encourages an extra measure of hope: good times are close at hand. It shouts from the rooftops: we are all one human family. Closeness is not just measured in time (how long until this crisis is over?) or in the feet and inches of social distancing. It’s also measured in spiritual kinship.

The Hebrew tag line for this video is דווקא עכשיו – meaning “especially now!” Now more than ever, we need to bring cheer to our neighbors and to strengthen our communal ties. Now more than ever, Jews need to sing!

Enjoy the view and the music. (You don’t have to be on key to sing along.)

With love and blessings,

Rabbi Debra

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Coronavirus, Covid-19, Spirituality, Israel, Community, Balconies, Jerusalem, Hope, Fiddler on the Roof, Bashana Haba’ah, Pandemic.

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