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NaNa Disc | נענע דיסק

Saba Project, Vol. 2

by Nitzan Birnbaum

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“There were the giant cedars kissed the deep blue sky; There were the Jordan flows gently by; There were the ashes where my Fathers rest; There were the Maccabees withstood every test; In that lovely land green hills and desert sand; There is my ancient Fatherland; In that lovely land green hills and desert sand There is my ancient Motherland.”
I wanted to leave that continent, Europe, and I wanted to get to Israel. The Exodus considered the biggest ALIYA BET, 4,530 people on one boat, which normally took less than 200 people. Instead of rooms, you had shelves that were running from one end of the boat to the other end of the boat. You could push yourself in, but you couldn’t sit up. It was the middle of the summer you know, there was no air conditioner there, you can really get boiled. They didn’t want the British to find out how many people there are on the boat, so they didn’t allow the people to get up on to the deck. From the 3rd day on the commander of the boat said “Lets open it up, the British know anyway”, and then the people kept streaming up to the deck. They enjoined being in the clean air. We were sort of joking around about what all this leads to, we’re enjoying the blue sea and the flying fish, and with the help providence, of God, next day we’ll make it to Israel.
From the very first day that we were on the sea, the British worship showed. By the 6th day, there were 6 British worships around us. One of the boats approached us with announcement “We know you are illegal immigrants. Turn around, go home, you will never reach your destination!”. When the last night arrived and we knew that next day we’ll make it to the shore, then we prepared the boat for landing and also for a struggle. These who were on the deck, who were going to fight, each of them got a wooden stick, you know, like a police stick. So all the potatoes and all the cans were brought up to the deck, because these were our weapons you see. The British attacked our boat when we were 60 K from the territorial waters. So the British worships, the iron monsters, came closed in on a wooden ship from both sides, there was a danger that they will break the walls and water will start entering. They were a few dead, there were over 80 wounded. After 4 hours finally our caption, the HAGANA commander decided to stop it. Then the British took position of it and took it in to Haifa, to Israel.
They placed us in three British freighters, and they had grades who checked everybody, it was very humiliating. And I remember when we left Haifa, looking back at mount Carmel, that’s an image which till this day is staying in my mind. We were on the high seas when we realized that they are really sailing to the west. We realized that they are taking us back, they are taking us back to Europe. The British were so angry about the Exodus that they decided not to take us to Cyprus, where they took most of us, most of the so-called illegal immigrants. There was a very dip seated anger in our people at the moment because it was very frustrating, here we wanted to reach our home, our Homeland and instead, the British who actually initially promised as the Homeland in the Balfour Declaration, are now punishing us for wanting to get to our home and are taking us back to Europe. They are taking us back to the land, which was soaked by Jewish blood, were our families were driven to gas chambers and to crematoria, they are taking as back to that cursed ugly place.
My parents and my grandparents were very intelligent people, but I wanted to see how they could believe in that God who watched how 6 million Jews were murdered by cruel hands. When I got to America, I studied Judaism in highly religious schools and academies because I wanted to come to the root of the problem. Eventually, I became a Rabbi, which was not my goal. So in the rabbinate I never spoke about God, I always spoke about values, about how to behave, about how to be honest and how to extend ourselves to our fellow men, to me that was true religion. and then one day it happened, I developed a filling that there must be a God, there must be some power which is the same on mars, as it is on the moon, as it is on the earth. One power. One unit. No matter what you call it, one what we call a God.
“there were the giant ciders kissed the deep blue sky” there is my Homeland. I wanted to see that Zion about which we were dreaming so in 1970 I came to Israel, to my Homeland.
There is so much in our world, which is utilizes for regretful purposes. People destroy each other, they eat each other up, and Instead of doing that, they could do just the opposite, build it up, make it into a real paradise. We could be dedicating our lives to making the world a better place. and this starts with each and every one of us. We have to realize that behind the clouds, there is the sun shining. There is an opportunity in every crisis, and we should never, never give up! My name is Ervin Birnbaum, and this is my story.


released November 6, 2020

Recorded at Bunker Studio, NYC. September 15, 2018
Piano: Shai Maestro
Bass: Chris Tordini
Drums: Nitzan Birnbaum
Sound Engineer: Tod Carder

Recorded at Bardo Studio, Israel. August 15, 2018
Guitar: Dekel Bor
Bass: Daniel Ashkenazi
Drums: Nitzan Birnbaum
Sound Engineer: Harel Lahav

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