A Freylekhn Purim!

Highlights from the Collection

Enjoy this selection of Purim highlights from our collection—you’ll find a traditional Yiddish song and one less-traditional, reflections from a theater director on Yiddish writer Itzik Manger’s famous rendition of the Megillah, and stories ranging in locale from prewar Vilna to a displaced persons camp to New York City.

Wishing you all a freylekhn purim, a happy Purim!

A Gilbert and Sullivan Purim Play

In this highlight, YIVO music archivist Chana Mlotek shares her copy of Gilbert and Sullivan Purim Play and sings one of the songs from the songbook: a Yiddish song set to the tune of “For He Is an Englishman.”

Hop! Mayne Homentashn”: A Yiddish Purim Song

Alice Ahart shares a humorous Purim song about Yakhne-Dvoszhe’s homentashn-baking mishaps that she remembers from her days at the I. L. Peretz school.

Reflections on Itzik Manger’s The Megillah of Itzik Manger

In this excerpt, Motl Didner, associate artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, speaks about his love for Itzik Manger's The Megillah of Itzik Manger, a play that blends the classic Purim story of the Book of Esther with the anti-Semitic realities Manger faced in 1930s Eastern Europe.

The First Purim After the Holocaust

In this clip, Leo Weitzman, child survivor of the Holocaust, describes the Purim play put on by his father and others in their displaced persons camp, in which survivors used their cigarette rations to hire professional German musicians to accompany the music.

Purim in Pre-War Vilna

Former World War II partisan and librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute Fania Brantsovsky shares her memories of Purim at her childhood school, including the carnival that the Sofye Gurevich School organized and the tradition of having everyone bring shalekh-mones (Purim treats) to eliminate distinctions between rich and poor students.