Nathan Shahar

Dr. Natan Shachar first achieved fame as a composer, choir conductor, and musical director of radio and television programs. Songs he composed have won awards and first prizes at various song-festivals in Israel. Dr. Shachar was the first to write a dissertation on the Hebrew Song at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His main areas of research are the musical and socio-musical aspects of Hebrew song from its inception to the present (2020). Shachar has written and edited about twelve books and dozens of studies and articles, some of which have been published abroad. Among them is the entry on Hebrew song in the prestigious GROVE encyclopedia, including the entries on the main Eretz Israel and Israeli composers. Shahar taught for decades at Beit-Berl College and for several years at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Articles by this author

Brachah Zefira

Brachah Zefira was a seminal figure in the world of Israeli song and among its most colorful and influential personalities in the pre-State period. She toured the world performing with her husband, pianist Nahum Nardi, and the duo played an influential role in ethnic integration in Palestine. In Zefira’s footsteps, an entire wave of Yemenite women singers arose. 

Yaffa Yarkoni

Yaffa Yarkoni was a talented and influential Israeli singer who recorded over 1,400 songs throughout her career. Known for her deep and throaty voice, her music spanned an impressive array of styles and rhythms and marked a shift in Israeli popular music.

Naomi Shemer

Naomi Shemer was a prolific singer and composer who built a unified Israeli cultural consciousness through her beautiful melodies. From the 1950s to the 1990s, Shemer wrote music that was performed throughout the country, including “Jerusalem of Gold” and “Lu Yehi.” In 1983, she was awarded the Israel Prize, and she continued to write new music until her death in 2004.

Nurit Hirsch

Nurit Hirsch is one of the most prolific and varied writers of contemporary Israeli songs. Hirsch was the first Israeli composer to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, winning fourth place in 1973. She composed the music for fourteen films, wrote numerous children’s songs, and won third place at the first festival of Hassidic music. Today Hirsch's repertoire contains around 1,600 songs.

Hebrew Song, 1880-2020

Hebrew song as a whole, including songs of Erez Israel and the State of Israel, is a unique socio-cultural phenomenon that has developed over time. The dawning of Hebrew song can be traced to the period between 1880 and 1903, and it has grown to reflect the diverse aspects of Israeli society since then. The contribution of women to Hebrew songs, in general, has risen steadily over the years. 

Ofra Haza

Born in Tel Aviv, Ofra Haza was an international singing sensation who performed across Europe, America, and Israel. Known for combining traditional Yemenite music with electronic pop sounds, Haza performed in the film Shlagger and in 1983 she placed second in the Eurovision competition. In 1998 Haza collaborated with many world-renowned artists and performed Naomi Shemer’s “Jerusalem of Gold” at the official ceremony marking Israel’s fiftieth anniversary.

Esther Gamlielit

Esther Gamlielit was prominent in a lineage of Yemenite singers, after Brachah Zefira and before Shoshana Damari. Gamlielit was a talented singer, dancer, and actress, known for performing songs with the Yemenite-style pronunciation of the Hebrew letters het and ayin.

Shoshana Damari

Shoshana Damari’s lush voice and her fusion of Eastern and Western musical aesthetics made her the voice of a generation in Israeli music, recording dozens of albums in her career. She made several movies, was known for her song “Kalaniyot” (Poppies), and was awarded the Israel Prize in 1988 for her contributions to Israeli music and culture.

Chava Alberstein

Chava Alberstein is a singer-songwriter who by the end of 2020 had recorded over 60 albums (including eight albums in Yiddish but not including singles and song collections), more than any other Israeli singer. Alberstein has toured globally and is considered one of the most important female performers of Hebrew music, Yiddish folk songs, and children’s songs.


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Nathan Shahar." (Viewed on April 21, 2024) <>.