Israelis You Should Know: Chava Alberstein

Age: 70

Known for: An Israeli singer, lyricist, composer, and arranger, Chava Alberstein has been called the most important female folk musician in Israel’s history.

About her: Born into a Jewish family in Poland, Chava Alberstein made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) with her parents in 1950.

At the age of 17, Chava was invited to perform at a nightclub in Jaffa. Accompanying herself on guitar, with her brother on clarinet, Chava sang four songs, and the performance was broadcast on Israeli radio. After a television appearance followed, Chava signed a recording contract with CBS.

The next year, Chava was drafter into the IDF, where she rose to stardom by entertaining her fellow troops.

In the years since, Chava has recorded more than 60 albums, singing in Hebrew, English, and Yiddish, a language she champions both in her own recordings and in her embrace of Yiddish poets.

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