Arts, Culture & Media

Obama Pays Respect to Yad Vashem, Given 'Chad Gadya' Sheet Music

Sheet2.jpg

The sheet music with the composition written in 1941, Amsterdam, by Cantor Maroko, received from Ruth Maroko during Yad Vashem's "Gathering the Fragments" Campaign (Photo Credit: Yad Vashem Archives)

During President Obama's visit to Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial, he was given some sheet music as a gift. It was a song composed by a Jewish cantor in Amsterdam during World War II. Marco Werman speaks with Ruth Maroko, the cantor's sister-in-law.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

For many visitors to Israel, Yad Vashem is one of those sacred destinations.

It's not a religious site per se.

Yad Vashem is the memorial dedicated to those who perished during the Holocaust.

President Obama paid his respects there.

He also received a poignant gift at Yad Vashem.

A manuscript of sheet music.

The song was composed by the former Chief Cantor of Amsterdam — Israel Elijasz Maroko.

The tune is titled "Chad Gadya."

And Cantor Maroko rewrote this traditional Passover song in 1941.

The manuscript had been donated to Yad Vashem by Ruth Maroko.

She's the cantor's daughter-in-law and now lives in Sylvan Lake, Michigan.

Ruth Maroko says a facsimile of the music was given to Obama and that she's thrilled he received a copy.

"The President got it," she says. "The whole United States got it. It's alive again. I'm sure my father-in-law would have been thrilled."

  • Sheet1.jpg

    The sheet music with the composition written in 1941, Amsterdam, by Cantor Maroko, received from Ruth Maroko during Yad Vashem's "Gathering the Fragments" Campaign (Photo Credit: Yad Vashem Archives)

  • Cantor.jpg

    Cantor Israel Eljasz Maroko, circa 1937. Photo donated to Yad Vashem by Ruth Maroko (Photo Credit: Yad Vashem Archives)

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