"For me, the highlight was the moving 'Al Zeh Hayah' (Ma Navu). It was as if the clock had been turned back four decades"
On January, 25, 2009, at a daf yomi siyum held at the Hasmonean Boys School in Hendon, North West London, a group of alumni of the original London School of Jewish Song record 39 years earlier entertained the audience with a medley of songs under the “baton” of Yigal Calek. For me, the highlight was the moving “Al Zeh Hayah” (Ma Navu). It was as if the clock had been turned back four decades.
Many years ago, our mother, Mrs. Summers, was a teacher at Hasmonean Primary School in Hendon, London. There was a young teacher there, a talented musician who had composed many beautiful songs and put out a record. As a family, we loved to sing those songs and look at the record cover — boys grouped around him in the snow. Our favorites were “Al Zeh Hayah” and “Shimu Melachim.”
Fast-forward, and in 2018, my mother was diagnosed with dementia. It was a blow for our family, but despite her handicap, we discovered that the minute we start to sing one of those two songs, she sings along to every single word. These songs are entrenched in her psyche, transporting her back to one of the happiest times of her teaching career, and once again Yigal’s unforgettable melodies work their magic.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 870)
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