My Manifesto: Quit Changing lyrics to stuff that I like
Very cute Neshama Carlebach. She changed the lyrics to Hatikva. For some reason, now people felt it was necessary to change the words to Hatikvah. It bothers me on many levels. Agreed, to some extent, I am thinking I should change the lyrics to some countries national anthem. I want to feel important too. But on a person to person, non-performer level: Do you have to change everything?????????? I was just getting used to life in Israel.
This is my response to the JTA stuff and the article of Neshama Carlebach in the Forward. I have a deep routed love for the reform movement. Even as somebody who would be considered ‘orthodox’ I do respect much of what the reform movement does for the Jewish people.
I want to make it clear that what I write is not a response to Neshama Carlebach ‘making Aliyah to the reform movement.’ It is just that the new article written about Neshama, in the Forward, has brought to light this new Hatikvah concept.
What you are about to witness is a full on attack on musicians and performers who change lyrics. Especially when they do it without relevant thought, such as the way I write. I appreciate the Tikun Olam focus of the reform movement too, Neshama. The Jewish concept of fixing the world, which the reform movement has adopted as its main focus, is beautiful. But that does not mean that you have to fix a good song. You made the song worse Neshama.I have questions: Why am I just hearing about this Hatikvah change now? Am I going to be a right-wing fanatic if I sing the correct words to Hatikvah, when Hatikvah is played? Why did nobody tell me about this earlier? I don’t like when Breaking News hits me two years after it happened. I will still give my comments, now that the big news is that Neshama is ‘Making Aliyah to reform Jewry.’ But let me be clear. I am not blaming reform Jewry for trying to change Hatikvah. Truth is that Hatikvah is not found in the siddur/prayer books in most orthodox shules. I will venture to say it is in the siddurs of most reform temples. Even so, I have some important stuff to say, two years later. And I do feel kind of dumb bringing it up now.
Somebody has got to let me know the important news when it happens. It should not be hard to put out a newspaper with important information to my life. If anybody can print up that kind of newspaper, one with information the best deal on electronics and flights and pointless things people are doing, I’d be happy. In the meantime, I’ll stick to Amazon and Dan’s Deals for deals I cannot use.
It is never too late to complain. So here we go. Here are the words to Naphtali Herz Imber’s poem written in 1878 (which might not have been written in English):
As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards the ends of the east,
An eye still gazes toward Zion;
Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
-thank you Wikipedia for providing us with this English translation and all the knowledge and Torah I need to be a good law practicing Jew. In Hebrew, this song even rhymes.
Before we move on. What is hurtful or offensive about this song? Excellent. We can move on.
The words that were apparently hurtful:
‘Jewish’- It is offensive to be Jewish. It bothers people when Jews are around. Hence, she substitutes this forbidden word, used to describe deplorable cheap people which no non-Jew should ever have to suffer connecting with, for the word ‘Israeli.’ The word Israeli being fine, because it is not offensive to illegally settle Thailand or Southern Argentina.
‘Zion’- She takes this word out, as nobody knows if it means Jerusalem or Israel or both, or a mountain near Jerusalem. All we know about this word is it could have something to do with Jerusalem being the capital of Israel and Jewish hope. As we know, Jewish hope offends other factions living in Israel. Instead, she puts in this verse ‘King David’- as if that is not going to offend the Arab population of Israel. Which has me wondering abou King David’s Arabic routes.
‘Two Thousand Years’- the hope of the Jews for redemption, to return to the land of their ancestors, their homeland. The hope that has kept Jews faithful to their unique prayers for two thousand years is offensive. She had to take out that hope. Understood, as Jewish hope and Jewish homeland means Israel. Instead we see the word ‘Ancient’  in Neshama’s version. As most people living in Israel are illiterate and not good with math, it is offensive to put an approximate number on how long we were in exile.
Neshama. The only word that should be taken out of this song is ‘East.’ That is the one word that is not right. But she wrote it for American Jews to feel better about their narcissistic view of their developed Judaism in America, which makes them feel comfortable and love for not being like ‘those Jews in Israel.’
I understand. I make a living off of complaining about life in Israel. The difference is that I complain to connect with Israel, as a Jew. I complain, therefore I am Jew.
Now is not the time to take the Jew out of Israel. Now is the time to take the Jew out of America.
When I get going on these rants, it all sounds good. Some of the stuff I have written so far might be offensive. Some of it might make barely any sense- that is the poetic stuff. Other stuff is hurting my argument. I have no idea. I just know that it is fun to have an opinion. The more it bothers you, the better. I am an Israeli right now. I say things that offend you, therefore I am Israeli.
Yeah I am pissed off. We all have a right to be. And yes I know the tune is an old Italian song or something. I know there were other poems and songs that could have been the Israeli national anthem. I know that all good Jewish music was created by non-Jews and all good Christmas songs are written by Jews. So, hear me out before you start with all those lyrical arguments of expression.
There were a few mix-ups on the lyrics. Yeah. Back in the day people all sung it differently. But that is because it is the National Anthem. Nobody gets any national anthem right. Do you know how many hours they spend teaching singers the words to the national anthem before a major athletic event? Do you know how many high school classes Ayal Golan attended recently to learn Hatikvah?
The question here is, the premise of the point I am making: Why do you have to change the words to Hatikvah, Neshama? Please note, this has nothing to do with feminism. I support the women’s plight. Hatikvah is a feminine word, and many women share the same root for their name of Tikvah, who I am very much attracted to. I have hope she will say ‘yes’ and go out with me.
This is has nothing to do with religion. Gd is not mentioned in it once. No Jews should be offended by the original lyrics. The government successfully left out the use of psalms and Gd from Israel. Although some parties in the government sometimes do promote belief in Gd when they need votes.
This has nothing to do with peace. As she argues, this is for Arab Israelis. I am sure the PLO promoters are not singing these new lyrics of unity.
This has to do with a musician who wants more gigs. I am amazed she was able to keep a straight face and not laugh while singing it. I am always amazed when I see singers that are able to not laugh at themselves when they look like they are doing something meaningful. That closing the eyes thing gets me every time.
If Neshama is trying to make inroads into the American reform movement with her own changes of words to traditional hymns, that is a sneaky way to get singing gigs. As an untalented musical artist myself, who most people hate, I have to say that is rude, crafty and cunning. I love Debbie Freidman’s Havdala and the changes she made to ‘Mishebayrach.’ But Neshama left out one key aspect to getting American gigs. They love when you throw in that English verse. You won’t land the gigs unless you put one verse in there in English. It makes it more spiritual or something.
I am sure Neshama has been singing the English version, the one that doesn’t rhyme. I am from the traditional school of thought, that prayers are best meaningful when you have no idea what they mean. That is why I like Shlomo Carlebach’s songs and the Hatikvah in its original version. I have been singing a devout Hativah for decades, thanks to the fact that I did not know what ‘homeeyah’ means. And now, because she changes the lyrics, I know what the original words mean. That to me, as a traditional Jew, is extremely disheartening. It kind of makes me feel less connected with Gd.
This isn’t about if Gd is a He or a She. This is about Israel or Jerusalem being Tzion. If she was changing it correctly, she would have changed the word to ‘Tzionah.’ Yet another woman who has held back the redemption by not giving me a chance to be her husband and perpetuating the Jewish people.
I am not suggesting that the song is Holy. If that was the case, then change the words to fit your religious beliefs. I am saying that the song is good. Even if it wasn’t Israel’s National Anthem, it just sounds right. I know people who have been changing lyrics to good songs for decades and they did not even think to touch Hatikvah. Do you know how many amazing rock songs Lenny Solomon has chosen to ruin, on behalf of the Jewish people? As Weird Al, he is amazing and he has done that for the Jewish people. Thank you Lenny Solomon and Shlock Rock. But I am not coming along and changing the words to U2’s ‘To Unite All Jews,’ to ‘To Unite All Israelis.’ If you are doing this so that American Jewry can rid themselves of the guilt of Jews living in Israel, then I say that you just stop calling yourself Jewish. You have already rid yourself of the hope for redemption to Israel and you’ll have a lot more friends and people that like you if you stop calling yourself Jewish.
In the meantime, I am going to keep singing ‘I can’t wait, to unite all Jews.’I will say this again: Israel is the Jewish Homeland. If that offends you, I hope that is offensive.Now I am going to be right-wing for singing Hatikva? Thank you Neshama. Tzion is now offensive?!! Watch this. The next time you sing the original words to Hatikva, somebody is going to give you an evil look. ‘Oh That right-wing lunatic who is not singing the new lyrics of Kind David’s home. She is not an Israelist.’
Israel is a Jewish state. Lets accept that and move on. It was founded as a Jewish state. There is still a Bible which is why we are here.
I moved to a Jewish state. There is no other reason for me to move here, to Israel. I am Jewish. Life was better in America or any other country outside of Israel, where the Jews are known for runing the banks, airports and owning everything that exists, as around a tenth of one percent of the population.
The point I am making is that we should not be changing good lyrics. Especially when those lyrics are meaningful to our people.
Wanting peace??? Is it the Hatikvah that is stopping the ‘Peace in the Middle East?’ I would say it is the hope. Jewish hope is offensive. The fact that Jews have had hope of returning to their homeland for sooo long is offensive. Us being in Israel is the reason why there is no peace.
They should change the lyrics to ‘The Elders of Zion Zionist oppressors are oppressing in their domination in the land of Zion, Jerusalem.’ That would bring peace. I want to thank Henry Ford, the Nazis and Russians
for helping us with those lyrics.

The lyric of ‘Yisraeli’ does not fit into the beat. That is the one part of the song which makes it more Jewish than any part of Hatikva ever was. Anybody who has ever been to shule on a Shabbat morning knows that the cantor’s job is to try to stuff the liturgy into one note. If the lyrics fit the tune, it is not a religious Jewish song. I do not want Hatikva to be a religious song. Why is she making it religious now?

Hatikva is the one song about our national life as Jews. It is a song of the 2,000 year hope of Jews to be in Israel, as non-religious Jews.
Point is, it is the least offensive song ever written and it is a beautiful expression of our finally being back in our Homeland. And your song dare be called ‘An Anthem for All.’ I like the name better, ‘An Anthem for All Non-Jews Who follow King David.’ I am happy with non-Jews living in Israel. I can keep Shabbat this way.

(part 2 will continue with more of why Neshama Calebach is wrong)