Naomi Shemer


Naomi Shemer was born on Kvuzat Kinneret in 1931.Many of her songs describe the landscape that was a part of her youth and reflect her love of  Israel.

She took piano lessons at an early age and continued her music studies in Jerusalem at the Rubin Academy of Music. Later, she returned to the kibbutz to teach music and to write children’s songs. Shemer eventually moved to Tel Aviv, where in 1956 she wrote the words to the musical Hamesh-Hamesh (Five-Five ).

In 1957 she wrote the words to the first show of the Batzal Yarok (Spring Onion) troupe. Among the songs she wrote for the troupe was Zamar Noded (Wandering Troubadour). The song Hopa Hey, which she wrote for the IDF Central Command entertainment troupe won an international song contest. In 1967, Shemer was asked to compose a song for the Israel Song Festival. Though not itself part of the competition, the three stanzas of “Yerushalayim shel Zahav” (“Jerusalem of Gold”) became instantly popular. Particularly because the Festival occurred just before the 1967 Six-Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem, the song acquired a national significance that spoke to the country’s longing for Jerusalem.  “Yerushalayim shel Zahav” was translated into many languages.

Of the songs Shemer wrote about the Yom Kippur War, the most popular became “Lu Yehi” (“Let it Be”) which began as a translation of the Beatles’ song by that name and evolved into an independent hit. This and other songs, many of which have been published in books of her music, have made Shemer’s songs the most-sung in the 1960’s to the 1980’s. For her immense contribution to Israeli music, Shemer was awarded the Israel prize in 1983.

Shemer died in June 2004 and was laid to rest at Kibbutz Kinneret where she was born.

Golda Meir


Golda Meir was born in Kiev in 1898. Looking for a better life, her family moved to the United States in 1906, where they settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In high school she joined a Zionist group called “Poalei Zion” (Workers of Zion). She  moved to  Palestine in 1921 with her husband, Morris Myerson, and settled in Kibbutz Merhavya.

In 1924 she moved to Tel Aviv. Between 1932 and 1934 she was sent the United States, serving as secretary of the Hechalutz women’s organization.

During the War of Independence she was active in collecting money in the United States to help cover the costs of the war.

In 1948, David Ben-Gurion appointed Golda Meir to be a member of the Provisional Government (הממשלה הזמנית). A few days before the Declaration of Independence, Ben­Gurion sent her disguised as an Arab to persuade King Abdullah of Jordan not to attack Israel. But the King had already decided his army would attack the Jewish state when the British left.

In June 1948, Meir was appointed Israel’s Ambassador to the Soviet Union. Elected to the Knesset as a Mapai member in 1949, she served as Minister of Labor and National Insurance until 1956. In June 1956, she became Foreign Minister, a post she held until January 1966. When Prime Minister Eshkol died suddenly in early 1969, the 71­ year­ old Meir replaced him, becoming the world’s third female prime minister.

The major event of her administration was the Yom Kippur War, which broke out   on October 6, 1973. As the postwar Agranat Inquiry Commission established, the IDF and the government had made a serious mistake when they didn’t guess the Arab intentions.

She resigned in 1974 in favor of Yitzhak Rabin. She passed away in December 1978 and was buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

Bob Dylan

Birth name: Robert Allen Zimmerman

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born May 24,  1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. His father, Abe, worked for the Standard Oil Company. Six years later the family moved to Hibbing, often the coldest place in the US, where he taught himself piano and guitar and formed several high school rock bands. In 1959 he entered the University of Minnesota and began performing as Bob Dylan at clubs in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The following year he went to New York, performed in Greenwich Village folk clubs, and spent much time in the hospital room of his hero Woody Guthrie.

Late in 1961, he signed a contract with the Columbia record company and the following year he released his first album, containing two original songs. Next year “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” appeared, with all original songs including the ’60s anthem “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

After several more important acoustic/folk albums, and tours with Joan Baez, he launched into a new electric/acoustic format with 1965’s “Bringing It All Back Home” which marked the beginning of the type of music known as folk-rock.

He was nearly killed in a motorcycle accident on 29 July 1966. After this, he stopped performing for a while. When he started again, he gave some more hard rock performances, but his next albums were mostly country music.

In 1974, he and The Band went on tour, releasing his first number one album, Planet Waves. It was followed a year later by another first-place album, Blood on the Tracks.   He stunned the music world again by his release of the fundamentalist Christian album “Slow Train Coming”. One of the songs from this album won Dylan his first Grammy. Many tours and albums later, on the eve of a European tour May 1997, he became ill with a potentially fatal infection of the heart. Fortunately he recovered, and even appeared in Rome that September at the request of the Pope. In December of that same year he received the Kennedy Center Award for artistic excellence.

Janusz Korczak

Janusz Korczak was born in 1878 in Poland. His birth name was Henryk Goldszmit. In 1898 he started his medical studies. At the same time he also started writing, using the pen-name of Janusz Korczak and received a literature prize. Thus he started a career both as a doctor and a writer.

In 1904 he began to work in a hospital for Jewish children in Warsaw, Poland.

Between 1914-1918, during the First World War, Korczak served as a doctor. When he came back from the war he opened an orphanage for Polish children who had lost their parents. In that same year he published his work “How to Love Children”.

In the next few years he published books, a young people’s newspaper and a play.

Korczak visited Israel, which was then called Palestine, in 1934. Two years later he visited it again.

In 1939 World War Two broke out. In 1940, the orphanage was forced to move to the ghetto. Despite the hard times, Korczak took care of the children and made sure they had food and clothes. On the 5th of August 1942, Korczak, the children and other staff members were taken to the death camp of Treblinka. Although he knew where they were going, he chose not to tell the children the truth.

Korczak is remembered all over the world as one of the greatest educators ever.