Hava Nagila – A Reminiscence

Saw the movie tonight.  I loved it.  Kind of “This is Your Life” for me. During my life, HN went through two stages.                                   In my youth, it was on the air and at every Bar Mitzvah, including mine.

First, it was an anthem for the generation of Jewish people after WWII.

The shots of it being played at Bar Mitzvahs could have been taken at mine.  The grandmother with BM boy could have been mine, Mary, my mother’s mother.  The proud parents could have been mine.  The chubby boy was just like me, blue suit and all.

Then the scenes of Harry Belafonte and Connie Francis.  Both from my youth.  A Black Man and an Italian Woman.  Only in America. The Jewish version was by Alan Sherman…..Alan & Sheila.

As the Sixties dawned, society changed.  My generation went from fun times to assassinations and anti war demonstration.  No time for fun.

Then the 80’s and 90’s dawned and few ever heard HN except at Bar Mitzvahs and weddings.  Jewish people found interest in Klesmer music.  The movie called it a returning to the older roots of Jews in Eastern Europe.  That generation never knew Nazi persecution, so had fonder memories of Jewish European roots.

That’s where we are today.

I wonder of my children have any connection with Hava Nagila at all.


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