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Lyr Req: Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen/Raisins and Almonds

DREMLEN FEYGL (Drowsing Birds)

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Tara_B 24 Jun 98 - 04:41 PM
John Nolan 24 Jun 98 - 06:20 PM 24 Jun 98 - 09:01 PM
Jerry Friedman 25 Jun 98 - 11:41 AM 25 Jun 98 - 08:45 PM
RS 27 Jun 98 - 11:09 PM
Tara_B 01 Jul 98 - 04:12 PM
harpgirl 01 Apr 01 - 11:15 PM
Joe Offer 02 Apr 01 - 03:35 AM
Hollowfox 02 Apr 01 - 03:18 PM
Mark Cohen 02 Apr 01 - 11:48 PM
LR Mole 03 Apr 01 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 03 Apr 01 - 04:12 PM
Sorcha 04 Apr 01 - 01:32 AM
Joe Offer 04 Apr 01 - 04:00 AM
Charlie Baum 04 Apr 01 - 04:15 PM
Jacob B 04 Apr 01 - 04:34 PM
Jacob B 04 Apr 01 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Joe Fineman 04 Apr 01 - 08:05 PM
GUEST,Angela 29 Aug 10 - 03:56 PM
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Subject: Rasins and Almonds?
From: Tara_B
Date: 24 Jun 98 - 04:41 PM

I was recently given an album of lullabies as a gift (for my daugther, really) and it has an odd little song called "Rasins and Almonds." I can't quite make out all of the lyrics, but it seems to be talking about a white goat! One lyric says:

"..and he will trot to the market while mother her watch will keep to bring you back rasins and almonds sleep my little one sleep."

It's a pretty tune, and I was curious about its origins (as well as the rest of the lyrics) but I didn't find it in the database here. Can anyone tell me more about it?

Thanks -TB

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Subject: RE: Rasins and Almonds
From: John Nolan
Date: 24 Jun 98 - 06:20 PM

I seem to remember it being a Yiddish lullaby, but could be wildly wrong. Bruce O? Bruce O? Are you out there?

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Subject: RE: Rasins and Almonds
Date: 24 Jun 98 - 09:01 PM

It is a Yiddish Lullabye. I can't remember the words. There is a book called "Roesinke und Mandeln" (meaning Raisins and Almonds) published in German which has that and many other Yiddish songs. I don't have a copy anymore.

In the Orthodox synagogue, in those old sexist days,the women were not allowed in the main area, but they had a "peanut gallery" up above. There was one ceremony, where the little boys are supposed to have reached a certain point in their religious development (not the Bar Mitzvah--that is when they are no longer little boys.) The women shower the little fellers with small bags of raisins and almonds from above. It is a traditional gift for boys who reached that stage.

So the lullabye is the mother telling her infant son how proud she will be of him someday.

I am really embarassed at not remembering more about it. I actually took part in the ceremony when I was a child.


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Subject: RE: Rasins and Almonds
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 25 Jun 98 - 11:41 AM

I've seen it spelled in transliterated Yiddish as "Rozhinke mit mandeln". I don't know the Yiddish words (but I'd like to); here's an English version. Sorry, no goats in this one!

I was only a tiny sleepyhead.
Mama gently she tucked me into bed,
And sang a song about raisins and almonds
And of sweet years to be.
Just of raisins and almonds--
Oh, this dear memory!
Such a dear memory!

This song (with I forget what words) can be heard in a movie biography of Paul Muni, maybe called Actor. It was made at least twenty years ago with less than the full resources of Hollywood--maybe for public TV?

By the way, Orthodox Judaism is going strong, and the women still sit separately from the men in the temples.

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Subject: RE: Rasins and Almonds
Date: 25 Jun 98 - 08:45 PM

My last posting seems not to have registered. If it is still in the ether and does appear, pardon my repeating myself.

The version I remember, Jerry, is different from yours in that it is sung from the point of view of the mother rather than the child.

I have a friend in Denmark who studied Yiddish when she was a Germanic Languages major. I think I saw the book I mentioned in her house. I will try to contact her and get the words. She is not on the Internet as far as I know, so it might be a while.


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From: RS
Date: 27 Jun 98 - 11:09 PM


This is a Yiddish lullaby which appears in many Jewish songbooks.

My sources include:
1. Let's Sing a Yiddish Song; Kinderbuch Publications, 1133 Broadway, New York, N. Y. 10010
2. The New Jewish Song Book, compiled & edited by Harry Coopersmith; Behrman House, Inc., 235 Watchung Ave., West Orange, N.J. 07052
3. Manginot - 201 Songs for Jewish Schools, Stephen Richards, Ed.; Transcontinental Music Publications - New Jewish Music Press - available on-line at
4. Songs NFTY Sings - North American Federation of Temple Youth, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 838 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10021
[ The first three have words and music, the fourth has words only ].
[ Where transliterations differed, I used the ones from Let's Sing a Yiddish Song ].

Words and music: Abraham Goldfaden

Singable English words: F. Minkoff [ from The New Jewish Song Book ]

In dem Beys Hamikdosh,
In a vinkl kheyder,
Zitst di almone Bas-Tsiyon aleyn
Ir ben-yokhidl Yidele
Vigt zi keseyder,
Un zingt im tsum shlofn
A lidele sheyn, a, a, a, a.

Unter Yidele's vigele,
Shteyt a klor vays tsigele,
Dos tsigele is geforn handlen,
Dos vet zayn dayn baruf,
Rozhinkes mit mandlen,
Shlof zhe, yidele, shlof.

Singable translation, from The New Jewish Song Book:

Alone in a corner when night is descending,
Sits a young widow with sorrowful eyes.
She cradles her babe with patience unending,
And soothes him to sleep with her sweet lullabies.

There's a wee little goat so snowy white,
Who will come to your cradle in the night,
With roses, raisins and almonds,
For my baby to keep;
Roses, raisins and almonds,
For my baby to sleep.

Non-singable translation, from Let's Sing a Yiddish Song:

In the Temple
Alone in a far corner,
Sits the widow, Bas Zion,
Rocking her only son, Yiddel,
And lulls him to sleep
With a little song, a, a, a, a.

Under the little one's cradle
There's a little white goat;
The little goat went trading,
That will be your calling,
Raisins and almonds,
Sleep, little one, sleep.

Comments from The New Jewish Song Book:
In Eastern Europe the goat provided a primary source of food (milk and butter) and also served as a pet for the children; it was therefore often endowed with imaginary, human qualities. Rozhinkes mit Mandlen (raisins and almonds) were considered food delicacies.

[The following chord notation follows the system that is used in the Rise Up Singing songbook.]

Cm - Gm Cm / Gm - D7 G / Eflat - - - / - Cm Gmaj7 Cm / - - - - /
Cm Fm Gm - / - Fm Cm - / G Cm - - / F - Cm - / G Cm - - / G - Cm - [from Let's Sing a Yiddish Song]

Dm - Am Dm / Am - E7 Am / F - B F / - - A Dm /
Dm Gm Dm - / / A - Dm - / Gm - Dm - / A - Dm - / / [from The New Jewish Songbook]

Am - Em Am / Em - B7 Em / C - F C / - - E Am /
Am Dm Am - / / E - Am - / Dm - Am - / E - Am - / / [my transposition, from The New Jewish Song Book chords]

Em - Bm Em / Bm - F7 Bm / G - C G / - - B Em /
Em Am Em - / / B - Em - / Am - Em - / B - Em - / / [my transposition, from The New Jewish Song Book chords]

[ Submitted by RS ]

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Subject: RE: Rasins and Almonds
From: Tara_B
Date: 01 Jul 98 - 04:12 PM

Thanks for the information and the lyrics and chords!

The lyrics posted here must be a variation on the song on my tape (likely mine is more modern and yours more traditional). I went back and listened to the lyrics more carefully. They say:

To my little one's cradle in the night,
Comes a wee little goat, snowy white.

The goat will trot to the market,
While mother her watch will keep,
To bring you back rasins and almonds.
Sleep, my little one sleep.

I'd still like to know the name of the event that the gift of rasins and almonds is supposed to celebrate. None of my Jewish friends have heard of it (I don't know anyone Orthodox, though)

Thanks, -Tara

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Subject: RE: Rasins and Almonds
From: harpgirl
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 11:15 PM

ahh someone beat me to it! lovely lambent lullaby, though...
Subject: Raisins and Almonds
From: harpgirl
Date: 01-Apr-01 - 10:44 PM

Raisins and Almonds

(Jewish Folk Song)
english words by Sylvia and John Kolb

To my little one's cradle in the night
Comes a new little goat...snowy white
The goat will trot to the market
While mother her watch will keep
To bring you back raisins and almonds
Sleep my little one sleep

This is played using d min, A7 and g min on autoharp and is a lullaby. The melody of this song as well as the descant can be played on a recorder. The descant may also be sung as a second part.

Anyone know any more verses? hg

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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Apr 01 - 03:35 AM

Click here for information and a recording of this song at Zemerl, the Jewish song database.
-Joe Offer-

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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: Hollowfox
Date: 02 Apr 01 - 03:18 PM

I believe it's also in Theodore Bikel's book Folksongs and Footnotes (Meridian, 1960). I seem to recall that the mother and baby were in the temple because they were very poor, and didn't have anyplace else to spend the night.

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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 02 Apr 01 - 11:48 PM

Well, adding my two zuzim (Pesach is coming!): I always thought that "beruf" meant "call" rather than "calling". Each peddler had his or her own call to tell people what was for sale. This little boy (or the precious white goat who symbolizes him) would be so special that instead of selling rags or pots or onions he would sell sweet and delicious raisins and almonds.


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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: LR Mole
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 12:40 PM

It figures in the final scene of Wouk's "War and Remembrance"; I would guess it to be very heavily symbollic, as a lot of children's songs are...

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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 04:12 PM

The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music (Mudcat's Links) Box 156, Item 181. Click for RAISINS AND ALMONDS.

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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: Sorcha
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 01:32 AM

My friend Judith (Greenburg) who is Reform (very reformed!)has studied a lot of Orthodoxy, and she says she knows of no "ceremony" or "rite of passage" that involves throwing little bags of raisins and almonds.

She said raisins and almonds are symbols of both luxury and fertility which is why they show up in songs, Seder plates and Holiday food. She also said that there are many local customs in Orthodoxy which are not mandated by Talmudic Law. Judith said (in her opinion) it's nothing more than a lullaby with symbolic intent...that perhaps the child (male or female) will be "richer" than the parents.

I have searched nearly every Jewish site I can find, including the Lubovitch site, with no reference found to any rite that involves throwing little bags of raisins and almonds.........

Since the Orthodox are not too likely to show up on the Internet,(although I suppose they could except for Shabbat) this one could be a real challenge for our Conservative/Reform/Comparative Religion scholars. Murray, where were you raised? Were you raised in Ultra Orthodox? I think finding this "rite" may be entirely up to your family memories. Interesting stuff, tho.

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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 04:00 AM

I did a fair amount of research last night and came up with about the same answer, Sorcha. I found no particular religious or traditional meaning to raisins and almonds, except that they are nice luxuries to enjoy.
-Joe Offer-

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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 04:15 PM

Bags of raisins and/or almonds (but more likely, hard candies) are throw in synagogue when

(1) the groom (and in egalitarian circumstances, the bride) come up to the bimah (reading desk) to have an aliyah (read from the Torah) on the Sabbath before the wedding. The ceremony is called an "aufruf" from the Yiddish/German "aufrufen" to call up, or to be called up, since the groom (and bide) is called up to the Bimah. The raisins/almonds/candies symbolize fertility and/or wishes for a sweet life. They are promptly snatched up by children (and perhaps hungry adults).

(2) at a bar-mitzvah (a more recent tradition or revival), after the bar-mitzah boy (or bat-mitzvah girl, in the case of egalitarian synagogues) finishes reading the Haftarah on Saturday morning.

I remember spending one Shavuot evening session discussing the Halachah (rules) of food fights--what foods is it permissible to throw? It's a question that gets discussed in Talmud, believe it or not. The general conclusions: you can throw things which aren't gooey, and won't injure someone. Raisins and almonds would qualify, but I've usually seen hard candies or sourballs or wrapped chocolates (Kisses or Tootsie Rolls) used. Then again, in the old days...

--Charlie Baum

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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: Jacob B
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 04:34 PM

The Orthodox are very active on the Internet. After all, one of the things the Internet is good for is connecting people who live apart and have similar interests, and that description fits frummies as well as it fits folkies! You can check out the website if you want.

As for throwing bags of raisins and almonds: it is traditional to throw sweets in honor of various sweet occasions. Nowadays people usually throw wrapped candies (because they are easier to clean up) but before wrapped candies were common people would throw raisins and nuts, and it only makes sense to put them in little bags first so that they don't get ground into the floor. It's really a sight to see - the air is filled with flying sweets, and the floor is covered with children who have run forward to grab as many sweets off the floor as they can!

Murray, I think you may be remembering being one of those kids, collecting sweets during somebody else's aufruf. Does that sound possible?

(A frummie is someone who is pious, and an aufruf is when someone is called to the torah in honor of their imminent wedding (and showered with sweets.))


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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: Jacob B
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 04:46 PM

Hi Charlie. As I wrote my message I was wondering why you hadn't answered this one, and you were answering at the same time I was wondering.

In my congregation, the rabbi has special hard hats for the bride and groom to wear when they are called up.


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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: GUEST,Joe Fineman
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 08:05 PM

It may be worth adding that, altho "Rozhenkes mit Mandeln" has been in oral tradition for over a century, it is in origin a show tune! It was in the musical play _Shulamit_ (1880) by Abraham Goldfaden, generally regarded as the father of the Yiddish theater.

It is also, almost certainly, the first song I ever heard. I have a copy of the words in my mother's handwriting, from which she learned it in the hospital while waiting to have me in 1937. When I was little, I was allowed to go around with the bowl of raisins & almonds for the guests at parties.

-- Joe Fineman,

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Subject: RE: Raisins and Almonds
From: GUEST,Angela
Date: 29 Aug 10 - 03:56 PM

I just stumbled across this page while researching something my aunt just told me. She just gave my daughter a bag of almonds and raisins to celebrate her upcoming first day of school. She told me that it was a tradition from our Jewish ancestors (My grandfather was raised Orthodox, but married a non-Jewish woman so we only have a few small traditions left). She said that it was a tradition to give these small bags to a child when they started Hebrew school so that the fruit of knowledge would be sweet. I'm not sure if this was only our family or if it is a more widespread tradition

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