From: Forward.com, July 13, 2012
The film traces the song from its origins as a wordless Hasidic nigun,
a wordless melody, in Sadagora, Ukraine, where the Ruzhiner rebbe,
Yisroel Friedman, established his court in 1845.
From there it traveled
to Palestine early in the 20th century, where Abraham Zvi Idelsohn, the
father of Jewish musicology, transcribed it and added lyrics to it in
1915 expressing celebration and brotherhood.
She had wanted to include interviews with descendants of the Ruzhiner
rebbe, but her attempts to track them down were unsuccessful. Then,
just as Grossman and her crew were filming in the ruins of the Hasidic
court in Sadagora, a descendant of Friedman walked in with a group of
students from England.
“We were packing up to leave when I noticed a Hasidic
man in a black hat and robe walking toward me, followed by a gaggle of
schoolboys with yarmulkes,” Grossman recalled.
She and the man
“cautiously greeted each other, and he learned that I was making a film
on ‘Hava Nagila.’ He let me know his name was also Yisroel
Friedman and that he was the great-great-great-grandson of the rebbe
Yisroel Friedman. I was astonished. You could have blown me over with a