The source of the song En Den Dino

“La Queue Leu Leu” , sheet music with illustration from a French children’s book Vieilles Chansons pour les Petits Enfants: Avec Accompagnements

This was first published on my blog on November 10th, 2009 (12:43:01). I am reposting it now with some minor changes:
I did first send an e-mail on March 1st, 2009 to the jewishgen newsgroup (soc.genealogy.jewish) in which I asked if someone knows more about the song “En Den Dino” (with spelling mistakes removed):

From: (lehrer)
Newsgroups: soc.genealogy.jewish
Subject: Children’s song: “En den dino”
Date: 1 Mar 2009 13:55:30 -0800

Dear all,

This is more a historical question then a genealogy related question:

My daughter of 3 came from her preschool with the following song:

“En den dino / sof al hakatino / Elik Belik Bom / Shabat Shalom / Un deux trois et vous êtes pas!”

I remember myself singing this song as a kid. Kids sing this when they want to decide which kid will have its first turn when playing a game.

I also remember once seeing a documentary about rhymes from preschoolers. Quite often such rhymes appear to be very old with sources that go back till the middle ages.

As this song sounds Spanish or Portuguese (except for the French part which obviously was added later), I am wondering whether this song’s source can be from the Inquisition’s times?

Best Regards,

Gershon Lehrer
Antwerp, Belgium

I’ve received many replies to my question and have compiled an overview of what I managed to learn about this song.

What it is:
Most of the Continue reading The source of the song En Den Dino

The abbreviation “v.” commonly found in Galician records

The following is a post which appeared in the Gesher Galicia SIG digest from August 29, 2011.
In this post, Suzan Wynne discusses the ‘v.’ which is commonly found in Galician records.
(The Gesher Galicia Discussion Group is sponsored by Gesher Galicia and hosted by JewishGen, the Home of Jewish Genealogy. See for more here:

Subject: abbreviation v is for vel non
From: “Suzan Wynne”
Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2011 20:04:55 -0400
X-Message-Number: 1

The abbreviation “v,” commonly found in Galician records about Jewish events, stands for vel non, a Latin legal term, which means “or not” or “alternatively.” This Latin term was adapted from the Latin that was commonly used for recording Jewish and non-Jewish vital events in Galicia until 1877 when the government authorized the kehillot to be responsible for collecting and maintaining Jewish births, marriages (civil), and deaths.

The abbreviation was used when Continue reading The abbreviation “v.” commonly found in Galician records

A Schnapspfeifle

I bought on my recent trip to the Black Forest in a souvenir shop of Titisee a Schnapspfeifle. (I try in general to explore tourist shops in places I visit where I can buy cups as a souvenir with the emblem of the town or city):

I was wondering what a Schnapspfeifle is and how we need to use it.

Schnapps is German for an alcoholic beverage. This is how Continue reading A Schnapspfeifle

An introduction to the Belgian Statearchives and its immigration files

The Public Safety Organization:
In 1840 the Belgian state, which was founded in 1830, entrusted the Public Safety (in Dutch: Openbare Veiligheid, in French: Sûreté Publique, in German:Öffentlichen Sicherheit) which was an autonomous board under the Minister of Justice, to monitor the aliens on its territory.

Note: Both Dutch, French and German are spoken in specific parts of Belgium as can be seen on the following map:

In order to preserve public order, the Public Safety Organization had to remove undesired aliens from Belgium’s territory. In order to be able to implement this order, they had to rely on the support from the municipal authorities who had in their turn to report each registration of any alien in the register of the municipality as soon as possible to the Public Safety.

This Public Safety organization would then decide whether the person could remain in the country. If this was the case, the Public Safety organization would keep a close eye on the alien citizen during his or her stay in Belgium. All authorities, including the army and the judiciary, were supposed to forward any document about the foreigner to the Public Safety Organization.

How was the information collected:
Most information was obviously gathered from aliens who voluntarily went to the municipalities to register. In addition, information was directly obtained by the police who found foreigners on Belgian territory and of foreigners that had to resort to the use of public services such as hospitals, etc.

Some files were opened on aliens even though they never reached Belgian territory. The organization opened these files preventively for “subversive” and possible criminal foreigners in order to be prepared in case they would enter Belgian territory.

When the foreigner in question passed away or Continue reading An introduction to the Belgian Statearchives and its immigration files

Expressions on 9 Av: “A Gitten Chorben”, “Morir havemos”, etc.

It is today 9 Av (Tisha beAv) during which the Jews are still mourning after a few millennia about the destruction of the two Jewish temples.

I saw someone yesterday wishing others “A Gitten Chorben”.
I was at first quite shocked to hear that expression which literally means something like: “A good destruction”. (Greeting in its essence is not allowed (see Shulchan Aruch 554:20).)

So I decided to find out more about that expression and found indeed on some places on the Internet the same saying. But I still was (and am) looking for sources.

Someone then told me about another expression.
The Jewish Portuguese Kehilla in Amsterdam has the custom to say after the reading of Eichah and Kinot in the pitch-dark and big synagogue, the following small sentence: “Morir havemos”.
It is a combination of Spanish and Portuguese and its meaning is: “We will die”.

I still personally prefer the second expression which also seems logic to me; it after all is simply trying to add to the spirit of the day.

But I was still trying to find some sources and the origin of the Yiddish greeting “A Gitten Chorben”.

We know the known passage from the Talmud which proclaims:

(כל המתאבל על ירושלים זוכה ורואה בשמחתה (תענית ל ע”ב


“Those who mourn for Jerusalem will merit to seeing Her rejoicing” (Talmud Bavli, Tractate Taanis, 30-2)

Could it thus be that when someone says “A Gitten Chorben” to an acquaintance, s/he means to wish the other person that s/he will merit to fulfill the Mitzvah (Command) of our sages (כל המתאבל על ירושלים זוכה ורואה בשמחתה) to its best and subsequently merit seeing Jerusalem in Her rejoicing?

Please let me know and share your thoughts and eventual sources by commenting on this article, thanks.

A Swedish Family

The Bernadottes of Sweden (source: wikimedia commons)

I came a while ago across an interesting article in the Belgian newspaper “De Standaard“.
They run each day during the holiday season a series  of short articles ( “Elders is het beter”, literally translated “elsewhere it is better”) in which they describe what other countries do better then Belgium.

On Friday (July 29, 2011) the newspaper discussed the Swedish system of how family members are called.

In English you would for example mention your mothers mother as “my maternal grandmother”, which in Swedish would be only six (!) letters short: “mormor”. My paternal grandmother would Continue reading A Swedish Family

Koud en levensgevaarlijk

Wodka + IJsblokjes = slecht voor de nieren!
Rum + IJsblokjes = slecht voor de lever!
Gin + IJsblokjes = slecht voor de hersenen!
Whisky + IJsblokjes = slecht voor het hart!
Cointreau + IJsblokjes = slecht voor het darmstelsel !

Wetenschappelijke conclusie:
IJsblokjes zijn levensgevaarlijk!!