The Bohemian Who Wrote “Hatikvah”:
The Career of Naphtali Herz Imber
FORTY years ago a man collapsed on Forsyth Street on the Lower East Side and subsequently died in Mount Moriah Hospital, of starvation and cheap liquor. The Rivington Street congregation refused the use of its synagogue for funeral services; services were finally held in the Attorney Street synagogue. When the coffin was brought to Mount Zion cemetery in Long Island, the streets along the way were lined with people singing the dead man’s songs- for he had been a poet. The songs were in Hebrew. One of them was called “Hatikvah” -”The Hope.” When the State of Israel was founded two years ago, it surprised no one to hear that “Hatikvah” had become the national anthem.
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