Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Somewhere Over the Rainbow


I checked this out online, yes,it was written by the two Jewish men.
mentioned….Judy Garland (Wizard of Oz) made it a big hit…..and
Hawaii’s own IZ made it a hit once again….

Maybe you know that the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was a song
written about Israel.

In case you don’t, read the story below.

During the 2014 Oscars, they celebrated the 75th anniversary of the
release of the “Wizard of Oz” by having Pink sing “Somewhere Over the
Rainbow.”   But what few people realized, while listening to that
incredible performer singing that unforgettable song, is that the
music is deeply embedded in the Jewish experience.   It is no
accident, for example, that the greatest Christmas songs of all time
were written by Jews.   For example, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
was written by Johnny Marks and “White Christmas” was penned by a
Jewish liturgical singer’s (cantor) son, Irving Berlin.

But perhaps the most poignant song emerging out of the mass exodus
from Europe was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.   The lyrics were
written by Yip Harburg.   He was the youngest of four children born to
Russian Jewish immigrants.   His real name was Isidore Hochberg and he
grew up in a Yiddish speaking, Orthodox Jewish home in New York.

The music was written by Harold Arlen, a cantor’s son.   His real name
was Hyman Arluck and his parents were from Lithuania.

Together, Hochberg and Arluck wrote “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,”
which was voted the 20th century’s number one song by the Recording
Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Endowment for
the Arts (NEA).   In writing it, the two men reached deep into their
immigrant Jewish consciousness – framed by the pogroms of the past and
the Holocaust about to happen – and wrote an unforgettable melody set
to near prophetic words.

Read the lyrics in their Jewish context and suddenly the words are no
longer about wizards and Oz, but about Jewish survival:

 * * * * * * * *
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?

* * * * * * * *
The Jews of Europe could not fly. They could not escape beyond the
rainbow.   Hamburg was almost prescient when he talked about wanting
to fly like a bluebird away from the “chimney tops.”   In the
post-Auschwitz era, chimney tops have taken on a whole different
meaning than the one they had at the beginning of 1939.

Pink’s mom is Judith Kugel.   She’s Jewish of Lithuanian background.
As Pink was belting the Harburg/Arlen song from the stage at the
Academy Awards, I wasn’t thinking about the movie.   I was thinking
about Europe’s lost Jews and the immigrants to America.   I was then
struck by the irony that for two thousand years the land that the Jews
heard of “once in a lullaby” was not America, but Israel.   The
remarkable thing would be that less than ten years after “Somewhere
Over the Rainbow” was first published, the exile was over and the
State of Israel was reborn.   Perhaps the “dreams that you dare to
dream really do come true.”


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