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Jewish Music

Nechama Hendel

Nechama Hendel was born on August 22, 1936 in Jerusalem, where her family lived in the upper-middle-class district of Rehavia. Both parents immigrated to Palestine from Poland. Her father, Michael Hendel (1899–1965), was born in Bolochow (Bolokhuv) and her mother, Chana Foyerstein (1900–1986), was born in Warsaw. Her father served for many years as chief inspector of history at the Israel Ministry of Education. Her older sister, Tamar Gadot, was born in 1934.

Miriam Gideon

Miriam Gideon had a notable career as a musical educator and as a prolific composer whose works have been widely performed and published.

Edith Gerson-Kiwi

World-renowned musicologist, a pioneer in the research of the music of the Jewish communities in Israel, Edith Kiwi was born in Berlin on May 13, 1908.

Rosa Eskenazi

Roza Eskenazi, arguably the greatest and most renowned Greek diva, was born in Constantinople and named Sarah Skinazi. Roza’s exact date of birth is not known. In her autobiography Auta Pou Thimame (What I Remember) she states that she was born in 1910. Published in 1982, the autobiography is based on interviews Eskenazi gave in 1972. Apart from being forgetful by then, she appears to have deliberately concealed her age, as she probably had done since the 1920s. The Greek musicologist Panayiotis Kounadis is among those who believe that Eskenazi was born between 1883 and 1887, whilst others maintain that she was born between 1890 and 1900.

Judith Kaplan Eisenstein

Before she was thirteen years old, author, composer, and musicologist Judith Kaplan Eisenstein was already a significant figure in Jewish history. The eldest of four daughters born to Lena (Rubin) and Rabbi Mordecai Menachem Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, Judith Kaplan was the first young woman to celebrate a [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:301]Bat Mitzvah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] publicly in an American congregation on March 18, 1922.

Ruby Daniel

Ruby (Rivka) Daniel lived for more than half of her life in [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:342]kibbutz[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] Neot Mordekhai in the Upper Galilee, but her book Ruby of Cochin: An Indian Jewish Woman Remembers richly illuminates Jewish life in Kerala, a green land of tropical abundance and religious tolerance on India’s southwest coast. Born in December 1912, Daniel spent the first half of her life in the ancient Jewish community of Cochin, where she developed her gifts as a compelling storyteller. She was the first Jewish girl who left the neighborhood to continue her education, and the first to complete high school and attend college. After working as a government clerk and serving in the Indian Navy, she was among the first in her community to make [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:293]aliyah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], in 1951, and to join a kibbutz. She was also the first Cochin Jewish woman to write a book.

Shoshana Damari

Shoshana Damari was born in 1923 in the city of Dhamar, Yemen. With the outbreak of anti-Jewish persecution in Yemen in 1924, the family set out on foot for the Land of Israel. Reaching the port of Aden, they continued by ship to Palestine and settled in Rishon le-Zion, where Damari’s father found work as a teacher at a local [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:417]talmud Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary].

Cochin: Jewish Women's Music

For many centuries, Cochin Jewish women have been singing Jewish songs, both in Hebrew and in the Malayalam language of Kerala, their ancient homeland on the tropical southwest coast of India.

Cantors: American Jewish Women

Though debate continues regarding the female cantorial profession, women’s voices increasingly come forth from pulpits in America, leading congregations in all the year-round calendar and life-cycle observances of the Jewish faith.

Ora Bat Chaim

Ora Bat Chaim, who began a new phase of life as a serious composer at the age of fifty-eight, went on to create over four hundred musical compositions.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Music." (Viewed on October 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/jewish-music>.

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