Ani Maamin - Ben Zion Shenker

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« Ani maamin », composed and performed by Ben Zion Shenker
Arranged and conducted by Vladimir Heifetz
Album : « Joy of the Land / Ve-yerushalayim irekha » (1968)

« Ani maamin » (I believe...) is a song based on the « Thirteen principles of faith » by Moses Maïmonide. The recitation of his poetic version, Yigdal, is usually sung at the end of morning prayers or on friday night. The original version consists of thirteen lines starting all with « Ani ma’amin be-emunah shelemah ». The two last lines refer to the belief of the coming messiah and the resurrection of the dead, and inspired many songs and melodies.

One famous version of « Ani maamin » is performed by Azriel David Fastag, chassidic Rabbi of Modzitz. He composed the melody in the train while being deported to Treblinka. It was sung in the extermination camps, in front of the gas chambers. One of the men from the train escaped and sang the melody to Ben Zion Shenker after the war, who transcribed it and made it famous. More information about this transmission : http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Almost-Anonymous.html

The sleeve of the disc notes that Ben Zion Shenker, one of the most talented contemporary composers, inspired by chassidic nigunim (melodies), living in Brooklyn, arranged here the text to one of his previous compositions, a slow nuptial march, which he created for his own wedding in 1949.

His website : http://www.benzionshenker.com/
His biography on Milken Archives : http://www.milkenarchive.org/people/view/all/561/Shenker,+Ben+Zion
His interview by Hankus Netsky on the « Yiddish Book Center » website for the Wexler Oral History Project : http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/oral-history/ben-zion-shenker

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