Yiddish ‘Bon Voyage’ for Jews

25.07.2012                      06.Aw. 5772

Jüdische Welt:

Yiddish ‘Bon Voyage’ for Jews

Famed Yiddish song ‘Yoshke Fort Avek’ marked send-off to Czarist army.

Victoria Cantor writes:

“Whenever someone embarks on a journey, my cousins all sing a Yiddish song that goes, ‘Lumen zikh ke zegena yush ke forte a veck! Hey! Hey! Hey!’ Have you any thoughts or ideas as to its origins?”
The song Ms. Cantor is thinking of is “Yoshke Fort Avek,” and the line she remembers in a garbled form is, “Lomir zikh gezegenen, Yoshke fort avek” — that is, “We had better say goodbye, Yoshke’s on his way.” Written to a rollicking tune by singer, actor and vaudeville performer Aaron Lebedeff during the 1904–05 Russo-Japanese War, “Yoshke Fort Avek” depicts a scene at a railroad station where Yoshke, who has been drafted into the czarist army, is about to board a train for boot camp….