Michael Rosental Guzman
Int. Relations and Jewish Advocacy.

Tchernichovsky at war

Shaul Tchernichovsky by L.Pasternak (1928) over La Vie, Marc Chagall (1964). Edit by myself.

Last winter, I had the opportunity to participate in the AJC Regional Forum in Santiago, Chile. At the forum, I connected with young leaders from across Latin America and around the world, and we discussed how to navigate the hardships of war. The first answer that emerged was music and how it helps us escape reality for a while or provides us with the strength we often need.

Six months into the war in Gaza, I want to revisit the poem Ani Ma’amin by Shaul Tchernichovsky, also known as Shaki Shaki. I first encountered this poem while studying Hashomer Hatzair in Israel, and it sparked my love for Tchernichovsky’s poetry. The poem has since become a popular and well-known song in Israel, particularly among left-wing circles. I want to share Vivian Eden’s translation of Ani Ma’amin from Haaretz, which I find to be the most accurate translation I’ve come across.

Rejoice, rejoice now in the dreams
I the dreamer am he who speaks
Rejoice, for I’ll have faith in mankind
For in mankind I believe.

For my soul still yearns for freedom
I’ve not sold it to a calf of gold
For I shall yet have faith in mankind
In its spirit great and bold

That will cast off binding chains
Raise us up, hold high our heads
Workers will not die of hunger
For souls – release, for poor folk – bread.

Rejoice for I have faith in friendship
I’ll find a heart – in this I’ve faith –
A heart that shares in all my hopes,
A heart that feels both joy and pain.

And I shall keep faith in the future,
Though the day be yet unseen
Surely it will come when nations
All live in blessed peace.

Then my people too will flourish
And a generation shall arise
In the land, shake off its chains
And see light in every eye.

It shall live, love, accomplish, labor
In the land it is alive
Not in the future, not in heaven –
And its spirit shall henceforth thrive.

A poet shall sing a new anthem,
His heart aware of beauty sublime
For him, that young man, above my tomb
Blossoms in a wreath shall twine.

I also want to leave the translation for my Spanish-speaking friends done by Meretz Argentina in their segment “The Israeli song of the week”, that can be seen here.

About the Author
Michael Rosental Guzman is an International Relations Student and a member of the Jewish Community in Colombia. He is part of the Youth Network of the Latin American Jewish Congress and part of the IMPACT Fellowship of the Bnei Brith.
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