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Joe Aaron - Adir Hu

Adir Hu
Chad Gadya
Echad Mi Yodea
Ki Lo Na’eh Ki Lo Ya’eh

Joe Aaron“I was born in 1930, the youngest of four children - two brothers and a sister. My father was also the youngest - of fourteen children - and so my cousins were about 70 when I was about six! There are long-lived genes in our family - my paternal grandfather died in his 90th year, my father’s sister was 103 and my sister will be 97 this year - but my grandparents had already died when I was born.

My father was born in 1884 in Preston, Lancashire. His father, Julius Aaron, came from Breslau in Germany. He was married twice; his first wife died after having seven children, her sister was brought from Breslau to marry him and they had another seven children! He died in 1908.

My mother was born in 1891. The family came to England in 1901 from a small town called Neinschtotsharvint on the River Niemen in Russia. The nearest large city was Grodny which was a big centre of learning. Her father, my grandfather, was brought over here to be a chazzan and schochet (ritual slaughterer) at the forerunner of the Holy Law congregation in Manchester, a kehilla called the Redbank Shul and these tunes came from him.

I have a set of machzors, published in Russia, which are over 100 years old, too fragile to take to shul now. Amazingly, considering the pogroms against the Jews going on at that time, they have a prayer for the royal family, for the Tsar of Russia; it says in Hebrew lettering - Nikolai Nikolaievich and his son Alexander Alexandrovitch.

I don’t remember that much about our Sederim, but I do remember a long table, the white table cloths and my brothers misbehaving and being told off!

When the war broke out my eldest brother was taken into the first militia in 1939 and was sent to Palestine and then to Libya. He survived the six month siege of Tobruk but was then tragically killed at the age of 21. The next brother is now 86 and lives in a rest home in Durban in South Africa. He still sings these tunes too.”

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