Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Hava Nagila's long, strange trip


Kluger Zoltan/Israel GPO

Children dancing at Kibbutz Ginegar, 1947.

If there is one Jewish song known by Jews and non-Jews alike, it is undoubtedly Hava Nagila, which is Hebrew for "let us rejoice." From its obscure origins in early 20th-century Palestine, the song has gone on to become a perennial favorite at weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and Jewish and non-Jewish cultural events around the world. With its short lyrics and simple yet distinctive melody, Hava Nagila has been recorded hundreds of times by musicians ranging from Neil Diamond, the Barry Sisters, and Harry Belafonte to the contemporary pop singer Ben Folds and the Serbian Gypsy brass band l...

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