When I work on a piece I’m often influenced by what I’m hearing as I work. This is certainly true of my next challah cover. I had done the text and the borders on this challah cover quite some time ago. The piece looked nice but a little bleak.
As I decided what music to put on while I worked, I remembered that my sister had asked me to find a song that was deeply meaningful to her.
As I have written before, I grew up in Quincy Massachusetts. Both of my parents are American born. They were profoundly influenced by the establishment of the State of Israel. They decided to raise their children to be Hebrew speaking. Rather than speaking to us in both Hebrew and English, they spoke to us only in Hebrew. They assumed that learning English, in the gutter, so to speak, would work as well as it did for my mother, who was brought up speaking Yiddish at home, and learned to speak English on the streets of Brooklyn.
While we didn’t have playmates who spoke Hebrew, we did have one another. My parents were always on the lookout for books and recordings to enrich our lives. We had a nice library of children’s books from Israel printed on that pulpy cheap paper that was so often used in tree-poor Israel.
My parents would often come back from Israel Bookshop in Brookline with records in Hebrew. Some were from Israel, others were education recordings made for Hebrew schools and Jewish Day schools here in the states.
Needless to say, much of what makes up my aural memories is not part of the American mainstream. Many of the records we listened to in those days were the brittle – pre vinyl LP’s. Many of them broke as we played them.
A few months ago I was delighted to stumble onto Judaica Sound Archives. there I found many many records from my childhood that I assumed were lost to me forever. I had sent the link to my sister. S he loved it, but she asked me if I could find the song “Shalom lach Avigail”.
That song appeared on a blue record. The singer had one of those high pitched shrill voices that was in favor in Israel in the 1940’s and 50’s. The melody was beautiful. I was jealous that my sister was lucky enough to have a beautiful song with her name, Avigail, in it.
So I did as my sister asked me, and searched for the song. My search lead me to this site Israeli Nostalgia compilation. If you click on the listen icon you hear just under an hour of music from my childhood. Actually, some of the songs were old when my parents were kids. Listening to the music was just a hoot. and as I listened I embellished the plain- ish challah cover into this
I still hadn’t found Shalom lach Avigayil. I finally decided to ask my wise friend, Rachel. Rachel and I grew up together. She currently lives in Israel and you can read here excellent writing here, Isreality. given her interest in Israeli nostalgia, I figured she may have a better sense of where to look.
Rachel sent me a few links to lovely songs titled “Avigayil”. I liked the songs, but they weren’t the right Avigayil song.
The third try was the charm. Shalom rav Lach Avigail is the song. If you want to listen to the song, click here. I had thought that that piece of my auditory history was gone for ever. I hadn’t realized quite how beautiful the words were. ( The words were hard to decipher under the trilling voice of the singer on that blue record.)
Yes, I sent the links to both my sisters. We all got very nostalgic.