Upper West Sider Writes New Versions of Dayenu and The Four Children for Covid-Era Passover

Passover, like everything else, will be a little surreal this year. One Upper West Sider came up with a way to celebrate the holiday while also acknowledging our strange times. And he’s got a sense of humor.

Michael Skliar wrote the updated Four Questions and Dayenu below. Happy Pesach everyone. Next year in Jerusalem, or maybe Barney Greengrass.

Here’s his rendition of Dayenu, with the words below. And beneath that, how to speak to four different kinds of children.

Di di anu, di di anu, di di anu, diayenu dayenu

If Trump had someone other than himself that he admired

If pandemic response people were not previously fired

If Fauci had been listened to,  If Donald Trump had had a clue

Dayenu

If ‘democratic hoax’ was not the subject of his twitter feed

If all his press conferences were not conducted to mislead

If this administration had not always denied science

And had the credibility to inspire compliance

If Fauci had been listened to, if Donald trump had had a clue

dayenu

If China had been better owning up to this disaster

Tho western governments, they did not move much faster

If all the kids on spring break at crowded beaches drinking

Had just a little common sense and just an ounce of thinking

If Fauci had been listened to, if Donald Trump had had a clue

Dayenu

If governors in red states had not said let’s sacrifice

older people so that stocks were sold at a higher price

If Rand Paul after getting tested did not use the gym

Risking other senators and then he took a swim

If Trump had not constantly lied about the facts

Using every opportunity to endlessly attack

Blaming Obama, taking no responsibility

Only thinking of his reelection possibility

If Trump had someone other than himself that he admired

If pandemic response people were not previously fired

If all of the above did not make us all so tired

And the only good news is this November when he’s fired (lets hope)

If Fauci had been listened to,

If Donald Trump had had a clue

Dayenu

Di di anu, di di anu, di di anu, diayenu dayenu

© M. Skliar 2020


And here are The four types of children by Mike Skliar

1-    What does the socially responsible child say?

The socially responsible child asks “How can I flatten the curve?” To that child, explain that staying indoors and practicing social distancing are not just empty actions, but benefit all of us, including the vulnerable who may have immunity issues.  The measure of society is not how the well-off are enjoying themselves but how we treat everyone, including those most at risk.

2-    What does the skeptical child ask?

The skeptical child asks “Isn’t this just some plot by the Chinese?” To that child, explain that no, this is a public health emergency that has and will affect everyone on the planet, that the 1918 “Spanish Flu” pandemic started in Kansas, not Spain, that this could have happened anyplace where humans deal with animals, whether it be a slaughterhouse in America or a market in China, that viruses don’t respect artificial borders between countries, that international cooperation and coordination is necessary to slow the spread, and that xenophobia will only make things worse.

3-    What does the indifferent child ask?

The indifferent child asks “Who cares about this stuff, when will I be able to watch sports on TV again?” To that child, explain that sometimes there are more important things, and this is the time to reflect on all the many things we have and probably don’t appreciate, and the people that make it all possible, whether it be the delivery person making minimum wage who is helping us stay at home now, or the farmers who are still growing the food, or the health care worker on the front lines.  Maybe when this is all over, some of those ‘regular’ folks will get one-one hundredth of the attention we lavish on pop culture and sports stars.

4-    What do we say to the child who does not know how to ask?

To that child, we say that throughout history, we have had challenges that at the time were new, scary, and seemingly overwhelming, and that not just survival, but “tikkun olum” (repairing the world) is what it’s all about, whether in challenging times or not.

ABSURDITY, ART | 26 comments | permalink
    1. Sherman says:

      This is a bit too political and left wing for my tastes. Trump is an idiot but there’s plenty of blame to go around for this mess.

      Anyway, safe Passover and Good Friday to everyone.

    2. UWSHebrew says:

      I am sickened by this man mixing his heavily biased political views with the Passover holiday. He thinks he’s clever, and I’m sure there is a cackling crowd of his friends who nod in approval, but he is offensive and not funny to any sane-thinking individual who would want unity, and not division during this difficult time.

    3. Standards says:

      I must agree that this in rather poor taste, and indeed insulting to a beautiful song and tradition. Judaism is bigger than politics, or should be.

    4. MAD says:

      Not at all funny or uplifting and certainly not helpful. Sorry to see that WSR is publishing this type of thing. Perhaps excerpts from the Book of Exodus would be more to the point.

    5. Free Speech says:

      One of the things I valued from my conservative Jewish upbringing was the importance of maintaining a sense of humor, especially during hard times. I didn’t find this to be offensive, but merely an attempt to provide entertainment during dark times. Politicians are appropriate targets.

    6. Melinda Smith says:

      FABULOUS!!! This cheered up our whole dreary day!!!

    7. jean mensing says:

      Thank you. Just a little relief from the heaviness of endless days.. And…come on all you complainers and criticizers, we
      need all the kindness we can get.
      p.s. good singing voice too.

    8. FunRunLa says:

      This is neither funny nor clever and certainly not keeping with the spirit of the holidays. I would be embarrassed for any of my Jewish in laws to see this disrespectful display at such a holy time, already coping with such sadness. Boo hiss.

    9. Leah says:

      Happy Passover you two.
      Loved it! Enjoy! Poo poo if people cant take a little comedy at this very difficult time. Not everyone is as gifted as the entertainer, but WE know that, way to go MS. Leah

    10. joshmo says:

      too left wing…waaaaaaaaaaay to left wing.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        This is the part I find most offensive, it really shows how skewed this guy is: “…this could have happened anyplace where humans deal with animals, whether it be a slaughterhouse in America or a market in China”. Does ANYONE agree with this?

    11. Richard Pravda says:

      I found the songwriter’s lyrics to be both clever and amusing. This is clearly a person who well
      Versed in the traditions of Pesach. Yasa Koach.

    12. Karen says:

      I’m so not left wing but thought it was great. Everyone needs to chill. Especially now.

    13. Deb says:

      Thank you for creating a bit of a laugh when otherwise we might be crying. Dayenu is terrific!
      and the four types of children is lovely

    14. Michael Strauss says:

      Seems completely reasonable to me – and factually all too accurate.

      Dismaying to see that some commenting have have decided to follow the sect of a profoundly anti-moral con man. Almost as though fundamentalist Jews have joined the ranks of self-described Christian evangelicals, who in practice are abandoning every ethical tenet their respective heritages teach them.

      This holiday is about allowing and respecting the freedom of all people – not just our own tribe.

    15. Joanne Honigman says:

      Wonderful inventive version of Dayeinu. Exactly my sensibilities. Thanks.

    16. Nathan Weber says:

      Wonderful! As someone who has spent years studying Yiddish and Jewish culture as a child, who has attended and often led innumerable seders, who has gone to more bar- and bat mitzvahs than I can count, I find your reenactment to be perfectly in tune with the Jewish tradition of acknowledging and responding to a new, and once again, horrifying reality. Ignore those who are steeped in their own bitterness. Keep up your insights and humor. We all, Jews and others, sorely
      need it.

    17. cmartens says:

      I thought it was wonderful and sent it to many friends. There is always a lesson to be learned from Pesach. Thanks so much for publishing it.

    18. janis says:

      I find this terribly offensive, and sadly, obviously, an insult to many Jewish people who don’t follow the Liberal ideology.
      It’s obvious that Liberalism has actually replaced Judaism as religion.
      The two are NOT interchangeable. At least not for this Jewess.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Exactly Janis. Liberalism and the phrase “Tikkun Olam” (Healing the World), is what Judaism is for most American Jews (which is a simplified, inane view that has been pushed from the Reform and Conservative Judaism movements for the last 50 years). So, you can know nothing about the religion, customs, traditions, laws (and follow none of it or pick and choose what you like), but as long as you are a “liberal” (member of the DNC and rage against conservative white men and women in the south and midwest) and do what YOU THINK is “healing the world” (volunteer at a soup kitchen once or twice a year and give money to the UNCF), then you’re following Judaism. It’s not to be made fun of, it’s just sad. This is why the intermarriage rate among American Jews is 60% – 70%, because who cares about marrying someone of the same religion if you never knew what the religion was in the first place? Sorry to spoil the fun, but Judaism is not bagels and lox and the Sunday NYT.

    19. Glenda Mendelsohn says:

      Love both of these new creative takes on Seder traditions.

    20. Loved the song. And the 4 sons were good to think about.