Many of us grew up with the folksongs of Pete Seeger and The Weavers, including Where Have All the Flowers Gone, If I Had a Hammer, Michael Row the Boat Ashore, and Tzena, Tzena. In those days, we didn't pay attention to his politics, only his singing.
In addition to performing Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Seeger also recorded a version of Dayenu, from the Passover Haggadah, in the 1959 album Folk Songs for Young People. Seeger also performed Hineh Ma Tov with the Weavers in their 1963 Reunion at Carnegie Hall.
Seeger, who died last week at the age of 94, was an activist for many leftist causes, but although pressured to join the anti-Israel BDS movement, he declined to join it.
As Ben Harris wrote in The Times of Israel,
Seeger first visited Israel in 1964 and spent time on Israeli kibbutzim — just the sort of collective communal enterprises he loved. He performed Israeli folk tunes with the Weavers in the 1950s as part of the larger folk revival he was helping to champion. And just two years ago, he recorded a video for the Jewish retreat center Isabella Freedman that recalls the three questions posed by the Jewish sage Hillel.Seeger was fascinated with Hillel and the three questions attributed to him in Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers). In the video below he reflects on the questions and suggests that they be taught in all schools.
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