"I took solace in the knowledge that there were Yidden out there working feverishly to free my family and others. Such was the power of Yigal Calek’s song"
Last year, I came across the song “CHILDREN OF SILENCE” (London School — Neginah Orchestra) again. A shiver shot up my spine, as I went back to the early 1980s. We had family stuck behind the Iron Curtain, my mother’s aunt, uncle, and cousins who couldn’t make it out when my grandparents and family made their escape in 1967. I was ten, curled on the recliner, positioning the needle to that track again and again, to hear that song of hope. I felt that there was someone who heard my voice, the voice of confusion and fear about evil, power, and aggression. That there was someone out there who cared enough to make a song that could help me make sense of all the madness. And I took solace in the knowledge that there were Yidden out there working feverishly to free my family and others. Such was the power of Yigal Calek’s song.
Growing up, we often traveled from New York to visit our grandparents in Connecticut. The two-plus hour drive there on a Friday and three hours back on a Sunday could be quite boring for young kids (we didn’t have smartphones or DVD players back then). My father a”h used to play only Jewish music cassettes, and we often joined him singing along. I didn’t always know which album, choir, group, or singer the song came from, but I did know that the songs were so beloved to him that he not only sang them in the car, but he’d sing them for many more years as soon as he’d hear the familiar lyrics. “CHILDREN OF SILENCE,” “ASHIRAH LASHEM,” “KO AMAR,” and “CHAMOL” were some of his favorites, and even in his recent final years, just hearing their words in a sentence would start him up whistling, humming, or singing the tunes. My father was niftar a year and a half ago, but these tunes remain enduring in my mind.
—Susan (Barth) Goldstein
Kew Gardens Hills, NY
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 870)