Japhet, Israel Meyer

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JAPHET, ISRAEL MEYER (1818–1892), German composer and teacher. Born in Kassel, Japhet taught at Gudensberg before being appointed choir leader and teacher of the Orthodox congregation in Frankfurt in 1853, where he remained until his death. He published Metek Sefatayim; Hebraeische Sprachlehre (19263), a Hebrew grammar in two volumes; a book on the accents of the Bible entitled Moreh ha-Kore; Die Accente der Heiligen Schrift (1896), with the notation of the accents according to the German-Jewish tradition; and a Passover Haggadah (1884) with translation and commentary in German and including four traditional tunes set for two and four voices. Japhet's most influential work was Schire Jeschurun ("Songs of Yeshurun," 19224), a collection of 101 synagogue melodies for cantor and choir in three volumes: the first for the evening and the second for the morning services of Sabbath and festivals; the last for various occasions, such as Simhat Torah and the Sabbath. Their style shows a melodious simplicity and uncomplicated classical harmony which conforms to the general tendencies of the German synagogue of his time.


Sendrey, nos. 2024, 3900, 6181–85, 7351–52; A. Friedmann, Lebensbilder beruehmter Kantoren, 3 (1927), 13–14.

[Joshua Leib Ne'eman]

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