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  • "Sending remembrance and admiration."
    - Daniel Gildesgame
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Issachar Miron, Israeli Composer of Tzena Tzena, died at 95 on January 29, 2015. Born Stefan Michrovsky in Kutno, Poland, he emigrated to Palestine in 1939. His family perished in the Holocaust. The cherished memory of his family and the six million fueled a lifelong dedication to them through his music, writings, poetry and photography. While serving in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army in Palestine, Mr. Miron composed Tzena, Tzena, which became a worldwide hit and an anthem of optimism in the years that followed the Israeli War of Independence. It was sung in some 39 languages and was performed and recorded by numerous leading artists in the United States, including Pete Seeger, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Dusty Springfield, Connie Francis, Vic Damone, Chubby Checker, the Smothers Brothers and Arlo Guthrie. The version recorded by Pete Seeger and the Weavers climbed to the top of the Hit Parade in the 1950s. Mr. Miron served as Officer-in-Chief of Cultural Programs of the Israeli Defense Forces and later as National Deputy Director of Music for Israel's Ministry of Education and Culture, where he embarked on a mission to unite through music the diverse new nation. In the May 1961 issue of "Reader's Digest", Oscar Schisgall wrote about Issachar Miron and this phenomenon, stating that the people of Israel were using music "to shape a more harmonious nation." After moving to New York City in the early 60's, he served as Dean of the Music Department of the Jewish Teachers Seminary and as National Director of Special Educational and Inspirational Programs for the United Jewish Appeal. In the 70's, he collaborated with Theodore Bikel to arrange and record the album "Silent No More," which raised awareness of the struggle of Soviet Jewry. His song "Ufi Ruach" became the first Hebrew song to be broadcast on Egyptian radio in the aftermath of the 1977 Egyptian-Israeli peace talks. Another of his songs, "Ma Yafeh Hayom," has become a staple of the Reform Movement's Sabbath liturgy. In 1996, he published a book of his poems called "Eighteen Gates of Jewish Holidays and Festivals." A true Renaissance man, his artistic range was immense -from vast contributions to Jewish liturgical and Klezmer music, to serious classical works, to hundreds of popular songs and numerous poems, writings, documentaries and commentaries. Over the years, Mr. Miron received many awards for his work, including ASCAP's Deems Taylor Award for creative writing and the Israel Engel Prize for Music. The late Tsipora Miron, his esteemed collaborator and beloved wife of nearly 71 years, was an accomplished pianist and organist. Mr. Miron is survived by their three daughters, Ruth Schleider, Shlomit Aviram and Miriam Lipton, plus six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. More information about Mr. Miron and his life and work is available on his website:, and many performances by various artists of his most popular song, Tzena Tzena, are available on YouTube.

Published in The New York Times on Mar. 1, 2015