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Popular Music

Carole King

Carole King, a nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn, gave Aretha Franklin reason to croon “A Natural Woman,” inspired Little Eva to tell a generation about the latest dance craze in “The Loco-Motion,” and let James Taylor warm our hearts with “You’ve Got a Friend.”

Jewish Women and Jewish Music in America

American Jewish music has expanded vastly in variety, range, and quality of activities. Jews brought to America their secular-folk and sacred-liturgical musical heritage. There has been a renascence of age-old traditions that have become means of self-expression for Jewish women.

Nurit Hirsch

Nurit Hirsch (Rosenfeld) is one of the most prolific and varied songwriters of contemporary Israeli song. Born in Tel Aviv in 1942 to Hillel and Leah Hirsch, she graduated from the Rubin Academy of Music, where she studied piano with Alexander Buch, composition with Mordechai Seter and Yeheskiel Braun (both Israel Prize laureates) and jazz with Professor Zvi Keren. She also studied orchestration with Noam Sharif and conducting with Laslo Roth. She continued her studies at UCLA, where she took courses in music for films, contemporary music and electronic music. In New York she studied composition with Norman Dello Joio.

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.

Hebrew Song, 1880-2000

“Hebrew song” is a general term for the field of music that combines Hebrew text with music; in other words, a lyric that is sung in the Hebrew language. (This classification does not include liturgical and paraliturgical song, although the latter is also sung in Hebrew.) The term “Hebrew song” generally encompasses both shirei [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:309]Erez Israel[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (songs of the Land of Israel) and “Israeli song,” both of which consist of Hebrew lyrics that are sung; however, the melodies in this case were composed in pre-State Palestine or, after 1948/9, in Israel.

Ofra Haza

Ofra Haza was born on November 19, 1957 in the Hatikvah quarter of Tel Aviv to parents who had immigrated from Yemen with their eight sons and daughters. Her mother, already a singer in Yemen, would often perform at family celebrations. Haza herself sang from an early age and was a soloist in her local school choir.

Eydie Gorme

One of the great stylists of the American popular song, Eydie Gorme has had a loyal following from the 1950s to the present.

Helen Forrest

When Helen Forrest joined the Harry James band in 1941, she broke new ground for American vocalists. She asked that specific arrangements be written just for her and that the band accompany her lead vocal. Harry James agreed, and Forrest went on to record five gold records: “But Not for Me,” “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You,” “I Cried For You,” “I’ve Heard That Song Before,” and “I Had the Craziest Dream.”

Dorothy Fields

A lyricist and librettist whose work embraces the bouncy optimism of “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” the brassy seductiveness of “Hey, Big Spender,” and the tender musings of “The Way You Look Tonight,” Dorothy Fields wrote the words to more than four hundred songs in a career that spanned half a century.

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.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Popular Music." (Viewed on November 28, 2015) <>.


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