Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Secret History of “I Have a Little Dreidel”

By Jacob Kaplan for Jewniverse

You’ve probably never heard of the late Samuel E. Goldfarb, but chances are good that you’ve heard the music he’s written. In fact, you probably know one of his songs by heart: the Hannukah-season staple “I Have a Little Dreidel.”

Goldfarb came of age at the turn of the century in a Lower East Side tenement, in a large, music-oriented family, and cut his teeth performing Jewish liturgical songs at synagogues throughout Manhattan. He compiled two Jewish songbooks with his brother, Israel. Influenced by Tin Pan Alley, Goldfarb went on to write more secular ditties—enter the Dreidel Song, which was published in 1927.

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