The great Hebrew poet H.N. Bialik (1873-1934) is esteemed for making the modern Hebrew language a flexible medium of poetic expression and for his profound influence on modern Jewish culture. 20th-century composer Yehezkel Braun produced many choral works based on Jewish traditional music, and compositions influenced by the music of different Jewish communities.


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She sits and combs her hair;
You may think that she is shameless,
but in my eyes she is pure.

Woe is me,my heart is heavy-laden,
If Rachel goes and leaves me,
What am I to do?

People like to talk and gossip all day long,
But I love Rachel so
And her love for me is strong.

When evening follows day,
In cornfields do I stroll —
And if my love is not with me
I languish unconsoled.

You stalks and ears of corn,
Tell Rachel that for her I sigh,
If she'll be away from me too long —
Then I must surely die.

Click on the speaker to hear:
With Window Wide Open
Music by Yehezkel Braun,
From: The Efroni Choir: Jewish and Israeli Music (1991)
Courtesy of Beth Hatefutsoth, Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, Jewish Music Dept.

The Efroni Choir is conducted by Maya Shavit (piano, Batya Steinbok).

Read poem in original Hebrew

"You are fair, my love. . .
your hair is as a flock of goats,
coming down from Mount Gilead"
(Song of Songs 4: 1)

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