Sulam Ya'akov

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Hebrew: סולם יעקב, "Jacob's Ladder". Circle dance by Yonatan Gabai, 1970. Also known as Mal'ach MiSulam Ya'akov.

The music most commonly used for Sulam Ya'akov is actually two separate songs. The first, which plays twice, is the actual song Mal'ach MiSulam Ya'akov with lyrics by Yoram Taharlev and melody by Nurit Hirsh.

The second song is Minhag Chadash Ba LaMedina, whose lyrics are a poem by Chaim Nachman Bialik. This poem has been set to music many times; the tune used in the dance is by Yanun Ne'eman, a multitalented composer who was also a dancer, choreographer, poet, actor, and director.

The dance is a beginners' circle dance. In the first part, the steps form a square, presumably symbolizing the squares that form a ladder.


Lyrics to Taharlev's poem, with comments by the poet

A performance of the song with Ne'eman's tune (the photo is of Bialik)

Several other settings of Bialik's poem can be heard here; follow the composer links at the bottom to other versions.

A photo of Ne'eman performing in "Rooms", choreography by Anna Sokolow (from the book Queer Dance by Clara Croft)

Sulam Ya'akov at

Video at Rokdim