Let’s rejoice and be happy – Hava Nagila הבה נגילה

Hava Nagila is a Hebrew folk song, the title meaning “Let us rejoice”. Though the melody is an ancient one of folk origin, the commonly used lyrics were written by the Jewish Latvian musicologist, Abraham Zevi ldelsohn, in 1918, to celebrate the British victory in Palestine during World War I as well as the Balfour Declaration (on the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, and British government support for a Jewish national home in Palestine, with the condition that nothing should be done which might prejudice the rights of existing communities there).

Perhaps the non-Jewish musician who did the most to populariseHava Nagila around the world was Harry Belafonte. In his live performances, he used Hava Nagila as his regular closing number because of its uplifting melody and hopeful, brotherly lyrics. His 1959 Carnegie Hall live concert recording became a best-selling record (and one I grew up hearing).

Let’s rejoice
Let’s rejoice
Let’s rejoice and be happy

Let’s sing
Let’s sing
Let’s sing and be happy

Awake, awake, brothers!
Awake, awake, brothers!
Awake brothers with a happy heart

Awake, brothers!
Awake, brothers!
With a happy heart

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בואו נשמח
בואו נשמח
בואו נשמח ונהיה מאושרים

בוא נשיר
בוא נשיר
בואו נשיר ונשמח

ער, ער, אחים!
ער, ער, אחים!
להעיר אחים עם לב שמח

ערים, אחים!
ערים, אחים!
עם לב שמח