Israel Meyer Japhet

Composer & teacher

Israel Meyer Japhet was born in Kassel, Germany. In 1853 he began working as choir master and teacher at the Orthodox Synagogue in Frankfurt, where he remained until his death in 1892. Japhet composed a large body of Jewish liturgical music for use in his Synagogue. His arrangements were melodically and harmonically simple and were heavily influenced by German Leid and Protestant hymns. He also published a wide range of instructive texts on Hebrew grammar, and on the correct cantillation of the Bible according to the German tradition. The most known and widely used of these texts were: Metek Sefatayi; Hebraeische Sprachlehre (1926); Moreh ha-Kore; and Die Accente der Heiligen Schrift (1896). Japhet’s seminal work was Schire Jeschurun (1922), a three-volume collection of over 100 synagogue melodies for cantor and choir, covering the liturgy for Shabbat and the festivals.