Arik Einstein, Singing 'Father' to Millions, Leaves Decades of Memories

Iconic Singer Provided a 'Soundtrack to Israeli Life'

Father To Us All: Immediate reactions to singer Arik Einstein’s death at the age of 74 showed how deeply enmeshed he was in Israel’s cultural identity.
getty images
Father To Us All: Immediate reactions to singer Arik Einstein’s death at the age of 74 showed how deeply enmeshed he was in Israel’s cultural identity.

By J.J. Goldberg

Published November 27, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

“Einstein was the embodiment of the new, liberal, secular Israel that we once thought we would be,” Chemi Shalev wrote in Haaretz. “… He was the antidote to arrogant generals, the antithesis of pompous politicians, the polar opposite of crass capitalists and manipulative machers. He was no heroic kibbutznik, no daring commando, no pretentious preacher or dogmatic fanatic. He was unencumbered by history, unburdened by Jewish suffering, undaunted by the bombastic ideology of his elders and peers.”

His songs, some from his own pen, many others written for him, were mostly quiet ballads about love, family and day-to-day life. Asked once to describe his music, he said it’s “mostly quiet and introspective, because I didn’t want to disturb the neighbors.”

Most of his albums are set pieces, each one composed and arranged by a single composer, usually drawn from a handful of friends he worked with repeatedly. His stylings evolved over the years. But the albums kept coming, year after year, and they remained best-sellers. As recently as 2010 he was still the most-played artist on Israeli radio.

As quintessentially Israeli as he was, he was also one of the very few Israeli pop favorites — Chava Alberstein and the Poogy group are others — whose work is widely known among Diaspora Jews. “Ani ve-Ata” (“You and I will change the world”) has been sung by fans all over the world since it was first released in 1970. “Uf Gozal” (“Fly away, little nestling”), released in 1987, has become a standard fixture at Jewish summer camps and in day school graduation ceremonies.

Einstein’s life took a dramatic turn in 1982. He suddenly stopped performing in public. He remained active for the next three decades, right up to his death, writing, recording, chatting with friends at his favorite shwarma joint on Ibn Gvirol Street. But he never again faced fans and rarely spoke to reporters. The one exception was a memorial concert for Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. He’d been in a serious car accident in the summer of 1982. It took him months to recuperate, and his eyesight, never strong, was severely impaired. His next few albums were named “Shavir” (Fragile), “Pesek Zman” (Time out) and “Ohev Lihiyot Babayit” (I like being at home).


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.