Carrying On The Carlebach Legacy

Common Element

The Jewish coming of age ceremony known as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is celebrated when a boy reaches the age of 13 or a girl becomes 12. Among the various customs connected to the rite is a party for all the youngster's peers. In Israel, like everywhere else, the details of the party may differ according to the individual tastes and status of the parents. There may be 500 guests or fewer than 100, steak instead of pasta, or a 5 piece band instead of a DJ.  However, one element is common to every Bar or Bat Mitzvah party and that would be a special song: Chaim David's "Yamama."

The popular musician's signature tune has caught on like wildfire among every sector of the Israeli population. The song creates a delicious tension; the music starts tremulous and slow, and then builds with fervor to a powerful crescendo. The ardent appreciation of this tune has grown to such a peak that the song is no longer enough. Yamama just makes you want to move and so Israeli kids invented a dance to go with the song.

Infectious Joy

Guests know Yamama is about to be played when the youngsters go into a huddle on the dance floor. With the opening strains of the song, the kids pat the floor with rapid movements, mimicking a drum beat. As the tempo increases, the children rise as one unit with an almost balletic grace and then abandon themselves in song and dance to the infectious joy of the moment.

Chaim David has a surname, Saracik, but no one ever calls him anything but Chaim David. The informality of no last name is fitting to the laidback songster's intimate style, characterized by his acoustic guitar, an anomaly on a music scene where every element is powered by electricity. Yamama generates its own kind of electricity, making it the most ecological song around.

Chaim David is a gentle soul with a raspy voice. He looks a bit frail and small, but don't let that fool you—there is power in the man. It comes from his soul, lit up some twenty years earlier by the legendary singing rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

Great Master

There was something about Reb Shlomo.  "He was a master of communication," explains Chaim David, "A great master, you know? He knew how to get into people's hearts and give them a little bit of love and care--most of the time when they most needed it. He was a master of that."

The late rabbi understood that Chaim David was on a musical and spiritual journey and urged him to continue his sojourn in Israel, the Jewish homeland. Chaim David came and stayed, exploding on the music scene with his sweet acoustic guitar. Eleven albums later, Chaim David is still spreading Carlebach's message of love and acceptance to receptive audiences in Israel and all over.

The singer songwriter and his band, Chaim David and the Mevasser Tov, have just finished recording a CD by the same name. This creative collection of old and new songs, never before recorded, is sure to please old fans and new devotees.