I must begin this text confessing that I always thought this song, which has been accompanying me practically from birth, was way too hackneyed. I think you all know it, the “Hava Nagila”[1] that has been danced and sung hundreds of times at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and other celebrations all over the world. Yes, if there’s one thing that softens the nuisance of (always) feeling like a foreigner is the real possibility of finding other Jews anywhere — in some places more than in others — and sharing jokes and songs with them without further delay.

For example, this sensation had considerably diminished the cultural gap between Alan and me when we first met, although we have never danced or sung “Hava Nagila” together until today. Imagine if this wasn’t the case.

Still, I did not hesitate one second to stop working early and postpone Rosh Hashanah dinner for a couple of hours in order to watch the “Hava Nagila” movie on PBS, as I’ve seen announced a few days before. […]

To keep reading in the Times of Israel, click here.

[1]Hava nagila/ Hava nagila ve-nis’mecha/ Uru, uru achim, uru achim be-lev sameach. [Let us rejoice/ Rejoice and be merry/ Rise, brothers, rise with a joyful heart.]

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