The Official Jewish Songbook

Tefillin On A Busy Manhattan Street Corner

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On A Busy Manhattan Street Corner

(T.T.T.O. Oh, Dovid)

On a busy Manhattan street corner

A young boy approaches a man

Excuse me, sir, but would you like to put on

The Tefillin I have in my hand
As the man starts refusing his offer

A dazed look does enter his eye

As he remembers a place that he’d loved

He breaks down and starts to cry

Oh Gan Yisroel, I cry out in pain

It hurts to realize how far I have strayed

Ideals that you set, the friends that I met

Oh, why did I cast them aside

The Shabbos in camp, the songs that we sang

Resounding Yechis, how loud they rang

I cry for those days, young man, let’s embrace

Then please find me some Tefillin of my own

A White-bearded Chossid

(T.T.T.O. Heitivah—Tzlil V’zemer)

A white-bearded Chossid, a stranger indeed

Boarded the plane that I was on

He seated himself right next to me

And asked me if Tefillin I’d like to don
Try as I may, I could not understand

The meaning of this command

But the warmth that I felt, ignited a spark

Something awoke in my heart

Throughout our Golus it always survived

The pintele Yid that’s hidden inside

Lidabeik bishchina it constantly strives

Lev Yisroel, forever alive

Jewish Identity

‘Cause I’m A Jew

I wear a kippa on this head of mine.

I daven mincha in the proper time.

And by havdalah in my pockets I put wine.

‘Cause I’m a Jew, I do that too.

I put my shlocks down, when it starts to rain.

I shake a lulav, which my neighbors think insane.

I like to bury my gefilte fish in chrein.

‘Cause I’m a Jew, I do that too.


‘Cause I’m a Jew, ‘cause I’m a Jew,

I do that too.

Because the Torah tells me to,

I do that too,

I do the strangest things a man

Could ever do.

‘Cause I’m a Jew, I do that too.

Oh there are times when I wear sneakers with my suit,

And I must confess that it looks rather cute.

And there’s a time where we must send each other fruit.

‘Cause I’m a Jew, I do that too.

Oh once a year I twirl a chicken over my head,

And it wouldn’t be that bad if it were dead.

And there’s a time I go outside and burn my bread.

‘Cause I’m a Jew, I do that too.

Oh once a month I go outside and bless the moon.

And once a year I have to eat all afternoon.

And there’s a time I pound my chest and sing a tune.

‘Cause I’m a Jew, I do that too.

On Pesach I will drink four cups of wine, it’s true.

And then eat matzah till I have no strength to chew.

Then I eat horseradish until I’m turning blue.

‘Cause I’m a Jew, I do that too.

59th Street Gang

When they come roaring down the street, in their leather bomber jackets,

Tieres screaming, pavement screeching, making such a racket.

Shiny steels spokes, glistening against the flashing chains,

The people would all run before the 59th street gang.

The leader of the group, was a guy they all called Mike.

Respected for his strength, and the way he rode his bike.

He kept his secret carefully, no one ever knew.

That the dare devil, rough ‘n tough, leader was a Jew.

He survived as an orphan from early childhood,

There was no one there to teach him, to do the things he should.

The inside of a synagogue, he’d seen but once before.

Now his life was a Harley trouble, and no more.

Well one day they were parked outside Tony’s Pizza Shop,

When one of them did say, “Now there’s money on the block.

I’ve heard that in the synagogue, they have a silver crown.

Sure to fetch a pretty penny, if we hock it in downtown.”

They drew a lot to see who’d be the one to go on in.

The short straw went to Mike, the sin belonged to him.

They set a date and time, for Sunday to come

And they slapped Mike on the back, ‘cause he was the chosen one.

Sunday night was cloudy, it was a chilly night for fall.

Mike approached the synagogue, walking cool and tall.

And the 59th street gang waited underneath the trees,

Mike climbed up the stairs, and he picked the lock with ease.

He walked into the synagogue and everything was dark,

The everlasting flame was casting shadows on the Ark.

He reached up to open, the Aron Kodesh door,

The silver crown shown in the night, like it never shone before.

And what he saw, made his head spin around

He couldn’t believe his eyes, and he broke down.

Back out of the synagogue he slowly turned around,

The gang beneath the trees saw him, without the silver crown.

Listen guys he said, “That crown’s in memory of the Rabbi’s soul,

May he rest in peace.”

“I’ve lead you all with blood and guts, as the years went by.

Ain’t no one gonna tell me what to do, and why

I’ve kept my secret carefully, ‘till now I’ve told no one,

The 59th street gang is no place for the Rabbi’s son.”

Broken Dreams

Driving his Porsche down the Palisades

In the leather bucket seats on a winter day.

Racing by the windows he can see the frozen trees,

Behind him lay the pieces of all his broken dreams.

Remembering the day, when he’d said good-bye,

To the yelling, the fights, the slamming doors and cries.

But he’d been young and strong, he had lots of pride.

Thought that grass was greener on the other side.


Gonna leave it all behind now,

Gonna throw it all away now.

They don’t understand him, they’ll never agree.

He’s leaving it all behind.
Got himself a job, in a piano bar.

Moving down the coast, dreaming of the stars.

Thinking of the times when his name would be in lights,

Surrounded by the glare of the neon Vegas nights.

Year after year, soon he was the choice.

They paid him any price, for his golden voice.

He was rising to the top, movin’ high and fast.

Everything he wanted, now, belonged to him at last.

He’d gotten to the top, several years ago,

Now all he had was memories of shows.

His penthouse in Chicago, his house at the beach,

His emptiness grew day by day, and gave his soul no peace.

That’s when he ran out of the building, like a mad man on fire.

Wants to leave behind him, all the things he once desired.

Now he rolls down the window of his car as he drives by,

Keep it all because… I’m gonna leave it all behind.


Gonna leave it all behind now,

Gonna throw it all away now.

They don’t understand him,

They’ll never agree,

But the one who was burned the most was he.

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