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A Brivele Der Mam'n

Years have passed since Jews from Eastern Europe arrived in South Africa, but today, many of us ask, should we stay or should go, given our current uneasy socio-political climate. If you choose to leave, it is difficult to leave loved ones behind. But if you do choose to leave, you would have it far easier than your ancestors, who were a long long boat ride away and who had only letters to communicate. 

This poignant song, A Brivele Der Mam'n, written roughly 100 years ago in 1907, gives us a glimpse into just how hard it was. The song is the haunting tale of a mother in the Old World whose only son has left her to travel across distant oceans to seek a better life for himself. She asks him to write a letter to her once a week, but in the eight years, no letter arrives. In the last verse, the mother sings, "Say a kaddish for your mother, / don’t delay. / Say it now, / dear son. / Grant her this con…

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