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
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
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, 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
The pintele Yid that’s hidden inside
Lidabeik bishchina it constantly strives
Lev Yisroel, forever alive
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 shake a lulav, which my neighbors think insane.
I like to bury my gefilte fish in chrein.
‘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.
And I must confess that it looks rather cute.
And there’s a time where we must send each other fruit.
And it wouldn’t be that bad if it were dead.
And there’s a time I go outside and burn my bread.
And once a year I have to eat all afternoon.
And there’s a time I pound my chest and sing a tune.
And then eat matzah till I have no strength to chew.
Then I eat horseradish until I’m turning blue.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
May he rest in peace.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They don’t understand him,
They’ll never agree,
But the one who was burned the most was he.