ALBERSTEIN, HAVA (1946– ), Israeli singer and composer. Born in Stettin (Poland), Alberstein came to Israel with her parents in 1951. She started singing and accompanying herself on the guitar while still at school. During her military service she performed as soloist in army bases throughout the country. Upon completion of her military service she began performing in concerts and for several years played the guitar while singing, but in 1971 she started appearing with a small ensemble and without her guitar, thus demonstrating her dramatic ability on stage. She then began writing her own lyrics. The songs in her 1986 album The Immigrants incorporated autobiographic elements and a measure of criticism of Israeli society. She expressed her political views in such songs as "The Magician," "Ḥad Gadya," and others. In "Ḥad Gadya" she changed the words of the traditional song to liken Israeli soldiers to devouring animals during the Intifada, which led to a storm of protest and a radio ban on the song. In 1988 she began composing her own music as well and produced the album The Need for a Word, the Need for Silence. In 1992 she recorded her first album in English, The Man I Love, following it by a number of others, notably one with the Klezmatics Band in 1998. With over 50 albums to her credit, Alberstein frequently performed abroad and is considered a major Israeli singer. She is notable in the field of children's songs and is considered one of the greatest singers of Yiddish songs, with some ten albums. She received the Kinnor David Prize several times as well as the Manger Prize.
[Nathan Shahar (2nd ed.)]