Yiddish Songs to Sing in the Shower

The Editors


In an effort to pool the col­lec­tive wis­dom of its read­er­ship In geveb reg­u­lar­ly con­ducts polls on var­i­ous top­ics. This time we have asked some per­form­ers to weigh in on a very impor­tant issue.

Our readers write to us from time to time with inquiries about Yiddish that we do our best to quench. But lately one inquiry has been pouring in above all else. We have been inundated with a deluge of emails, all gushing with one question: “What is the best song to sing in the shower?” So, we asked some experts, whose answers, dripping with wisdom, can be found below:

Mikhl Yashinsky: I like to do the melodramatic title song of the operetta Der dishvasher, which means, surprisingly enough, The Dishwasher. The character is an aging immigrant who has been forced to wash dishes in a restaurant for meager pay since his upwardly mobile Yankee children have abandoned him. For bathing motivation, I find it useful that the chorus doesn’t have a direct object. “Ikh vash / mit mayne shvakhe hent / Ikh vash un vash / fardin ikh a por sent,” it goes — “I wash / with my weak hands / I wash and wash / and earn a couple of cents.” That way, you can easily imagine while in the shprits that you are singing not about scrubbing a coffee mug, but rather, about scrubbing your own pretty mug! The one you’re singing out of!

Adah Hetko: My first answer would be Geyen Mir Shpatsirn. It’s really satisfying to sing the “du-bu-bu-bu-bu-bu-she leybn” and “zey-ey-er kalt” parts in the shower!

Asya and Sebastian Schulman: Purim is a great reminder of the fundamental wetness of Yiddish song. After all, this is the time of year when “es kapet fun di dekher”. So there’s no shortage of Yiddish songs that come to mind whenever we get wet (and soapy). One of our favorite lines to sing as we exfoliate is “s’iz fintster un nas, un ikh hob a veg nokh a vaytn...,” a brilliant meditation on the buoyant and bright future of Yiddish ahead. And then there are those introspective moments when the temperature is just right and steam clouds the mirrors, when our hands go wrinkly and we lather our scalps in contemplation, musing aloud “ikh shtey un vart in gos, ikh veys aleyn nisht far vos”...

Anthony Russell: My choice would be Avrom Liesin’s “Di Lena”; nothing enhances the experience of hot running water than a poetic depiction of heroic 19th century political exile to the frozen wastes of Siberia enforced by an autocratic tsarist regime, all set to a jaunty folk march.

Uri Schreter: I’m a morning shower person, it’s literally the first thing I do before I even figure out what day it is, so “Vakht oyf” seems like a useful morning hymn. Maybe if I yell “es togt shoyn, vakht oyf, un tseefent di oygn” loudly enough it’ll make a difference.
Also, “Di sapozhkelekh” is one of my favorite songs to sing in the shower because it’s one of my favorite songs to sing anywhere.

Miriam Udel: Shower time is Ruth Rubin time. Farshteyt zikh.

Feygi Philips: My song is ‘a payatz’ and because that’s what [my daughter] Nina has been learning in kinder… but also the tune is a real bop.

Eléonore Biezunski: Especially for today, I’m singing this is a parody of “Hop mayne homentashn” I really love with words by the French Yiddish songwriter Jacques Grober, “Hop mayne khokhme shpasn.”

Other favorite songs our interviewees nominated include “Hu tsa tsa”, “S’a mekhaye”, “Di shvue”, and “Fin kosev biz kitev.”

Editors, The. “Yiddish Songs to Sing in the Shower.” In geveb, March 2022:
Editors, The. “Yiddish Songs to Sing in the Shower.” In geveb (March 2022): Accessed Apr 24, 2024.


The Editors