Shelem (Weiner), Mattityahu

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SHELEM (Weiner), MATTITYAHU (1904–1975), Israeli composer. Born in Zamoscz, Poland, Shelem went to Palestine in 1922, worked in agriculture and road building and in 1927 joined kibbutz Bet Alfa. For a time he was a shepherd, and the shepherds' and shearing festival songs which he composed at that time were his first popular works. In 1940 Shelem joined kibbutz *Ramat Yoḥanan. From 1944 onward Shelem was chiefly active as a teacher and *Youth Aliyah instructor in his kibbutz. In 1958 he founded an archive there (Makhon le-Havai u-le-Mo'ed) to collect the documentation on the development of the forms of festival and holiday celebration in the kibbutzim (see *Kibbutz Festivals).

Shelem's songs, to which he always wrote the words, were created for the immediate needs of kibbutz life – from kindergarten to communal celebrations. The following list contains Shelem's best-known songs in approximate chronological order.

bet alfa period: "Hoi At Ereẓ ha-Kaddaḥat," "Bi-Meẓiltayim u-ve-Tuppim," "Ha-Koremim, ha-Yogevim," "Seh u-Gedi," "Sisu ve-Simḥu bi-Yhudah," "Simhu Na u-Firku ha-Ol," "Hinneh Geshem, Geshem Ba," "Na'alẓah ve-Nismeḥah," "Shir la-Sadnah," "Yoḥanan ve-Gavri'el." ramat yohanan period: "Adarim," "Shime'u, Shime'u," "Rav Berakhot," "Natu Ẓelalim (Shabbat ba-Kefar)," "Ez va-Keves Kevar Nigzazu," Omer ceremony pageant (1943, see below), "Ve-David Yefeh Einayim" (the third part of the melody added by Eliyahu Gamliel), "Ro'eh ve-Ro'ah," "Shiru ha-Shir," "Havu Lanu Yayin, Yayin," "Hen Yeronan" (c. 1953, addition to the Omer).

Shelem's *Omer, celebrated in Ramat Yoḥanan from 1945 onward and adopted in many other kibbutzim, is one of the two central "new ceremonies" developed by the secular kibbutz movement (the other being Yehudah *Sharett's seder). It is a reconstruction of the ancient ceremony, based mainly on the Mishnah, and is made up of recitations, solo and small choir songs, songs for the participating public, dances (created by Lea Bergstein), and the symbolic actions of harvesting and presentation of the first sheaves. Many of the songs have entered the Israel folk repertoire, such as "Bi-Yhudah u-va-Galil," "Shibbolet ba-Sadeh," and "Panah ha-Geshem."


M. Weiner (= Shelem), Hava'at ha-Omer; Massekhet Ḥag ve-Shirah (1947); M. Shelem, in: Taẓlil, 3 (1963), 205; 7 (1967), 179–81; 10 (1970), 99; I. Shalita, Enẓiklopedyah le-MusikahIshei ha-Musikah ha-Yisre'elit ve-ha-Kelalit (1959), 776–9.

[Bathja Bayer]