Sharett (Shertok), Yehudah

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SHARETT (Shertok), YEHUDAH (1901–1979), Israeli composer; brother of Moshe *Sharett. Born in Kherson, Yehudah Sharett was brought to Ereẓ Israel at the age of five and shared in the family's adventurous settlement in the Arab village of ʿAyn Sīniya. After their move to Jaffa he studied violin and music at the institution directed by Shulamith Ruppin (later the "Shulamit Conservatory"). In 1922 he joined kibbutz *En-Harod; there he founded the "Emek Quartet" whose members gave many concerts in agricultural settlements and at the same time continued to fulfill their daily stint of manual labor. In 1926 he joined kibbutz *Yagur. In 1929 he went to Germany to study with the noted music educator Fritz Joede. Upon his return he began to compose intensively for the needs of his kibbutz, from simple children's songs to his crowning achievement – the Yagur Passover Seder Service. Between 1937 and 1939 Sharett published eight song collections called Anot which principally contained his own songs and compositions. They were the first music publications of the workers' movement and the first of their kind in the country.

No. 2, for *Omer and Passover, already contained the nucleus of the seder; no. 4, "for the days of siege and bloodshed" served for ceremonies during the Arab riots; no. 8 included choral works by 16th- and 17th-century European composers, with words adapted by Sharett. Of Sharett's songs and choral pieces, the following became especially popular: Kumu To'ei Midbar (words by Bialik; choral setting, edited by Josef *Tal); Ha-Bonim ba-Ḥomah; a group of songs by the poet Raḥel, including Ve-Ulai, Hen Damah be-Dami Zorem; Lo Sharti Lakh Arẓi (early 1930s); El Al be-Eyal (D. Shimoni); and Ha-Geshem Ḥalaf Halakh Lo (Song of Songs). The Passover seder service (Seder Pesaḥ Nusaḥ Yagur, 1951) evolved with the collaboration of the members of Yagur. Its basic text is the "Spring" and "Exodus" passages from the Song of Songs and the Book of Exodus, together with a considerable part of the traditional *Haggadah. Participation is distributed between the celebrants, an adult's choir, a children's choir (with a small percussion ensemble), adult and child soloists, adult and child speakers, and an "ad hoc" ensemble of available instruments. Almost all nonreligious kibbutzim in Israel adapted Sharett's seder, or many parts of it. A few of the melodies (such as Sh. *Postolsky's Ha Laḥma Anya) were taken from other composers, but the seder, as a whole, is Sharett's creation.

In 1953 Sharett left Yagur and settled in *Neveh Yam. From that time he also worked on the creation of "kibbutz liturgies" for the High Holidays.


Enẓiklopedyah le-Musikah. Ishei ha-Musikah ha-Yisre'elit ve-ha-Kelalit (1959), 779–84; P.E. Gradenwitz, Music and Musicians in Israel (1959), 122; Who Is Who in acum (1965); B. Bayer, in: Dukhan, 8 (1966), 89–98.

[Bathja Bayer]