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Leader Resource 2: Hava Nagila and the Hora

The song "Hava Nagila" and the simple dance called the hora are common at traditional Jewish weddings, bar and bat mitzvah celebrations, and other festive occasions.

Sing "Hava Nagila"

Learn how to pronounce the Hebrew words. Teach the song by singing each line, one at a time, and having participants repeat it. (Note: "CH" is pronounced as in "LOCH.")

Transcripted Hebrew


Hava nagila,

Let's rejoice,

Hava nagila,


Hava nagila venismecha.

Let's rejoice and be happy.


Hava neranena,

Let's sing,

Hava neranena,


Hava neranena venismecha.

Sing and be happy.


Uru, uru achim!

Awake, awake, brothers!

Uru achim b'lev sa-me-ach.

Awake, brothers, with a happy heart.

Uru achim b'lev sa-me-ach.


Uru achim b'lev sa-me-ach.


Uru achim b'lev sa-me-ach.


Uru achim! Uru achim!

Awake, brothers! Awake, brothers!

B'lev sa-me-ach.

With a happy heart.


Dance the Hora

Teach the movements without music and repeat several times. Once everyone has had a chance to try the steps, start the music.

Form a circle, and all hold hands.

On "Hava nagila... ," step to the side, passing your left foot behind your right.

Move the right foot beside the left foot.

Step to the side again, passing your left foot in front of your right this time. Continue rotating the circle with these steps, adding a little hop to your steps as you go faster.

On "Uru, uru achim!" move toward the center of the circle and throw your hands up in the air, still holding to the hands of the people beside you.

Once together in the center, when you throw your hands in the air let out a yip, or beat the tambourines.

Lower your hands, move backward, and resume moving the circle around together.

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