Updated: May 5
Sung by Soviet Jews, trapped in the USSR: “Blue and White are the colors of my land, for now and ever after”. A music lesson: sing in Hebrew, and discuss the lyrics meaning and source.
BLUE AND WHITE
כחול ולבן How to say it in Hebrew: Kachol Ve-Lavan THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG Kachol Ve-Lavan (Hebrew: Blue and White), in an Hebrew patriot song that became an anthem of Soviet Jewry and was also popular in Israel. The song and its melody were written in the late 60’s by Israel Rashel, a Jewish resident of Minsk, who was then 21. Herschel wrote the poem in Hebrew in order to express his connection to Israel. He fought for his right to immigrate to Israel until he achieved it in March 1971. THE SONG’S MEANING The song expresses feelings and meanings associated with blue and white colors, the national colors of the State of Israel.
Teacher Nick Greene, Valley Beth Shalom, CA:
For the past several months, the halls of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino California have been draped in photos and recollection of the Refusenik endeavor.
This installation, which serves to salute the struggles and successes of a generation, has awed our community and provoked discussions and indeed action on the behalf of justice. The students of VBS have been interested in the topic of the Refuseniks, so these lessons came at a wonderful time.
The second lesson we conducted was “Sing in Hebrew.” This lesson was perfect for our students. As 8th and 9th graders, music is an integral part of their lives. For them, culture is indeed the driving force for the world around them, and music can be considered their most important cultural aspect.
We learned the song “Kachol Ve-Lavan” and sang it as a class. Some students are more advanced than others in Hebrew, but none are fluent speakers, so we spent time going over all of the words and dissecting the importance of each line. By the end, each student felt that they had a connection to the lyrics and in turn, the Refuseniks who championed them. It takes a lot for thirteen and fourteen year olds to be vulnerable, and singing a song they aren’t familiar with is certainly a vulnerable situation. The fact that they sang with gusto and pride proves that they connected to the lesson and of course their Refusenik brothers and sisters. A video is included to show them singing.
The learning did not stop here, we continued on talking about how art and culture can influence the world around us. Music, theatre, film, poetry, and more are extremely important to the progress of society. Now as much as ever, our young students can relate to this.