Heilmann, Yitzhak

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HEILMANN, YITZHAK (1906–1997), ḥazzan and choir-master. Heilmann, was born in Lvov to a family of Belzer ḥasidim. He sang in the temple choir in Lvov with Cantor Yehoshua Moshe Saitz. Afterwards he was appointed assistant to the choir conductor Yisrael Faiwishis, with whom he learned to read and play music. When Faiwishis moved to Lodz, Heilmann was appointed choir conductor at the Lvov and the Gilead Synagogue. He was conductor of the Polish military orchestra and teacher at the Lvov Conservatory. In 1935 he moved to Belgium where he conducted the choir at the Central Synagogue of the Shomre Hadass community in Antwerp. He performed with his choir on the Belgian radio. During World War ii he was in a refugee camp in Switzerland. He immigrated to Israel in 1949, and from 1950 was choir conductor in the Central Synagogue of Haifa for over 45 years. The choir was famous for the old Warsaw-style approach to choral music and performed frequently on Kol Israel. At first it was mixed (boys and men) but in the later years it was an adult male choir. He trained many cantors from among the choristers, including David *Ullmann, Moshe *Shavit, Mordekhai Ronen, Dov Keren, and Nahum Malik, and composed hundreds of melodies for sections of the prayer service. In 1997, under the auspices of the Toronto Council of ḥazzanim, a three-volume set of Heilmann's compositions were published under the title Shirat Itzḥak.

[Akiva Zimmerman /

Raymond Goldstein (2nd ed.)]