Gołda Tencer’s contribution to the album is other-worldly. Her chant resonates with nostalgia for the old days, a longing for a world which is on the verge of disappearing forever. Majn Jidisze Mame is dedicated to mothers, central figures in every Jewish family. The mother refuses to accept the cruel news that the sea has taken her son and she will never see him again. She keeps waiting for him at the railway station, hoping for a miracle.
Not every story of people living with CCHS comes with a happy ending. Some of those touched by the curse swim off into the depths, lured by the nymph’s beguiling song. All it takes is a moment of distraction. A malfunctioning ventilator. A malicious infection. An untimely nap. How do you come to terms with that? How do keep your sanity?
My Yiddishe Momme is a song originally written by Jack Yellen (words and music) and Lew Pollack (music), first recorded by Willie Howard, and was made famous in Vaudeville by Belle Baker and by Sophie Tucker, and later by the Barry Sisters. Sophie Tucker began singing My Yiddishe Momme in 1925, after the death of her own mother.
The song, in English and Yiddish, sadder in the original Yiddish than in the English translation, the mother implicitly symbolizes a sense of nostalgia for the “old world”, as well as guilt for having left it behind in assimilating into American society.