Issachar Fater
(יששכר פאטער)
(1912 - 2004)

Muzyka żydowska w Polsce w okresie międzywojennym
Les Musiciens Juifs En Pologne entre les Deux Guerres

Original in Yiddish
יידישע מוזיק אין פוילן צווישן ביידע וועלט־מלחמות
Yiddishe muzik in Polyn tsvishn beyde velt-mil'homes

Translated from Hebrew by Vera Golan
מוסיקה יהודית בפולין בין שתי מלחמות העולם
Mussika Yehudit bePoleyn ben shtey Mil'hamot Olam


Issachar Fater
Czesa & Issachar Fater on their
55th wedding anniversary, January 2002

Born in Drobin, near Plock. Attended a 'heder and later a yeshiva. The family moved to Zakroczym, near Warszawa, where he spent five years in a secular seminar for teachers in Warszawa.
In Israel, he studied at the Tel-Aviv University and obtained a degree in History and Judaism.
He got his basic knowledge of music from his father, a cantor. Issachar Fater studied also at the state conservatory in Warszawa with professors Tadeusz Meisner and Stanislaw Nazoro.
In 1935, he became active as a pedagogue in the field of practical music, conducting and researching Jewish music. Until the beginning of the Second World War, he worked as a teacher of Judaism and music at the Jewish autarchic gymnasium in Mlawa. In this school, he founded a choir that became famous in the whole region and was regularly praised by the Polish Ministry of Education.

In 1940, he was a refugee in the Soviet Baranovice, worked as an inspector for the teaching of music in the education and culture institutions of this town.
After being freed from a labor camp in Siberia, he was nominated as the cultural director of “the Polish Company for Song and Word” and became the director of the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Lenintabad in Tadjikistan.

After the war, he returned to Poland and, for one year, managed the department of culture at the Jewish Polish central committee in Warszawa.

In 1947, he moved to Paris and from there to Antwerp. In the years 1951-1962, he resided in Rio de Janeiro. In all these places, he worked with the local Jewish schools and conducted choirs that reached high levels of culture and musicality.

In 1962, he immigrated to Israel, settled in Tel-Aviv and devoted his activities to music, pedagogy and literature. As from 1934, Issachar Fater published many articles in various newspapers: critics and contributions regarding Jewish music in different countries: in Warszawa “Khazanim Welt” (“World Cantors”), in Paris “Undzere Wort” (“Our Word”), in Rio de Janeiro: "A Yiddishe Phrese” (“Yiddishe Phrase”) , “Aunda and Amos”, in Sao Paulo “Neier Moment” (“New Moment”), in Tel-Aviv: “Letzte Neues” (“Last News”), “Nowiny Courier”, “Di Goldene Keit” (“the Golden Chain”).
He published numerous researches, books like: “Remember” in memory of the ghetto Warszawa uprising, 1953, “Jewish Music in Poland between the Two World Wars”, in Yiddish, also translated in Hebrew), 1970, “Jewish Music and its Problems” ( in Yiddish), 1985, “Sacred and Profane in Jewish Music” (in Yiddish), 1988.
“He is not only practicing what he preaches but is the composer of beautiful works in the world of music, creativeness, production and pedagogy. He is endowed with an artistic talent, developing and spreading Jewish vocal and instrumental music. He is a versed and experienced musician and his scientific articles reinforced and still do our knowledge of music in all its diversities” (Prof. Dov Sadan).

Issachar Fater died in Israel in February 2004

…“Issachar Fater has always been attentive to tradition when conducting choirs and used extreme cautiousness concerning singing material, musical adaptations and interpretations and, thanks to that, was able to obtain from his choirs not only the purest diction and musicality but soulful Jewish warmth and emotion. His dynamic and creative personality contributed to the development of national aesthetics and brought a new spirit and substance to the cultural life of Jews in the neighboring settlements.” (extract from notes presented by judges of committees distributing awards).
In his musical research, Issachar Fater was searching the revelation of Jewish music from far-away times until today and he revealed the exceptional Jewish melodies in spite of the internal exchanges and external changes, which influenced our people throughout generations, the melodies remained faithful to their ancient origins, and even the new elements that pervaded did free themselves from their strangeness and became an integral element of the Jewish melodic popular treasure.
Issachar Fater accompanies the development of Jewish music through its various courses and phases. He requests from its creators to penetrate all the aspects of Jewish spirituality.