Sunday, February 21, 2010
 
ROLL BACK THE CLOCK
For weeks now a friend of mine has been telling me about a Yiddish class that she attends on a Wednesday afternoon at a local temple. She knows I enjoy speaking the Yiddish language and have expressed interest in attending that class with her.

Every Wednesday afternoon there was always something that came up where I was not able to attend until this past Wednesday.

My first impression was of a very charming and goodlooking gentleman who was playing the piano as we entered.

Piano
Piano by J. Weissmahr, on Flickr

I have attended many Yiddish classes over the years and one of the first things the leader does is introduce himself and then goes around the room and asks each person to say their name and a little about themselves in Yiddish. That serves two purposes - we get to know who the leader is and the class gets to wet their whistle.

So all I got to know about him was the fact that he was a skilled piano player and spoke an excellent Yiddish. My friend clued me in to the fact that he was in his 90's.

He handed out song sheets that originally were in English and he transliterated them so that when you read them, they were in Yiddish. He played the piano, sang the tunes and we joined in. What Fun!

As I looked over the songsheets I saw the name "Nat Zumoff." I said to my friend, "I remember that name, so he's the one that translated those songs into yiddish?" "Oh" she said - That's Nat Zumoff conducting the class!!"

Well, did that bring back a flood of memories - The first winter my husband and I spent in Florida we attended a program at a temple that featured Nat Zumoff. That had to be 25 years ago!! He made such an impression on me that I never forgot his name. What I particularly remember was when he sang the Yiddish version of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."

Immediately after the class ended I introduced myself and told him what I remembered about that afternoon years ago, especially his singing the ballgame song in Yiddish. He was so pleased to hear my thoughts and said, "funny, I was thinking I just might do that song next week."

What happened that day made me think of an expression my mother used to say, "If you don't go out, nothing happens." Well, I went out and something special happened!


Comments:
And aren't you glad you went!!?? That sounds like a lot of fun, Millie, especially since you had met the man before.
 
Gosh, Millie -- you have all the fun!!!!!
 
It is kind of a comfort when we experience again a pleasant interlude from our past!
 
What a wonderful surprise. I love sing-alongs because no one knows I am the one with the terrible voice.

It sounds like a great afternoon. I wish I had been there even if I wouldn't have understood a single word. Come to think of it, people would have known I was the one with the terrible voice because I couldn't sing in Yiddish.
 
Great story Millie! You always have such fun stories to tell!
 
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