גאָט בענטש אַמעריקע | God Bless America, for Armistice/Veterans Day by Irving Berlin (1918/1938)

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Translation (Yiddish) Source (English)

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free
let us all be grateful for a land so fair
let us raise our voices in a solemn prayer:

גאָט בענטש אַמעריקע,
לאַנד װאָס איך ליב,
שטײזע בײַ איר,
מדריך זײַ איר
איבראל לײַכט א שטראל אונז צוליב
פון די בערג ביז
צו די פרײריעס
ביז די יאמן װײַס מיט שױם
גאָט בענטש אַמעריקע,
מײַן זיסע הײם
גאָט בענטש אַמעריקע,
מײַן זיסע הײם
God bless America,
land that I love.
Stand beside her
and guide her,
through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains
to the prairies
to the oceans white with foam,[1]originally, “From the green fields of Virginia to the gold fields out in Nome” as can be heard sung by Kate Smith in her 1938 rendition.
God bless America,
my home sweet home,
God bless America,
my home sweet home.

Irving Berlin’s famous “God Bless America” was written in 1918 during World War I, set aside, and then published again twenty years later in a slightly revised form to be sung on 11 November, Armistice Day (now Veterans Day).

In 1938, with the rise of Adolf Hitler, Irving Berlin, who was Jewish and had arrived in America from Russia at the age of five, felt it was time to revive it as a “peace song,” and it was introduced on an Armistice Day broadcast in 1938, sung by Kate Smith on her radio show. Berlin had made some minor changes; by this time, “to the right” might have been considered a call to the political right, so he substituted “through the night” instead. He also provided an introduction that is now rarely heard but which Smith always used: “While the storm clouds gather far across the sea / Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free / Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, / As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.” (In her first broadcast of the song, Kate Smith sang “that we’re far from there” rather than “for a land so fair”.) This was changed when Berlin published the sheet music in March 1939.[2]From Peace To Patriotism: The Shifting Identity Of ‘God Bless America’“. Interview of Sheryl Kaskowitz by Robert Siegel. NPR. September 2, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.

The Yiddish version that I have transcribed in Hebrew type is the version found in Mandy Patinkin’s album Mamaloshen (Nonesuch 1998). Please correct any errors in my transcription or orthography. Many thanks to Cantor Hinda Labovitz for her assistance in locating these Yiddish lyrics.

Source(s)

Download Nem-mikh-mit-tsu-der-ball-geym-Got-bentch-Amerike.pdf (PDF, 31KB)

Notes   [ + ]

1. originally, “From the green fields of Virginia to the gold fields out in Nome” as can be heard sung by Kate Smith in her 1938 rendition.
2. From Peace To Patriotism: The Shifting Identity Of ‘God Bless America’“. Interview of Sheryl Kaskowitz by Robert Siegel. NPR. September 2, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.

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