Even decades after the end of Esther Gamliel’s career, we are still in our hearts

Four months after the six-day war, we got married. The wedding was held in Nahalal, the place where the bride was born and raised. The tables were set on grass consisting of long wooden planks.

The groom and the bride’s father drove a tractor to nearby Kibbutz Ramat David and loaded the chairs onto the platform. Women from Nahalal’s circle applied to make the cake, and the groom’s father funded buses that set off from Heichal Hatarbut Square to the Jezreel Valley.

At the agreed time, guests began to arrive. Lots of guests. All glorified. All daughters and family members of wedding guests from all over the country. Friends and colleagues from the Voice of Israel, where the groom had started working a year earlier. Only members of the Nahal group were absent.
The groom arrived accompanied by the bride in a white dress sewn for her by Etty, Eli’s girlfriend from the band.
And the band Nahal is not there yet.

Suddenly drops began to fall from the sky. At first, it drips, then it drips and finally a meter. Real rain. Hundreds of guests began to flee and seek refuge from the rain.

The groom’s mother was heard telling the groom’s aunt “even the sky is crying over this wedding”. It’s no secret that at least she wasn’t complete with this wedding. As if it wasn’t complete with almost all the other things in our world.
Then it turned out that the vehicle in which the band members were traveling to the wedding overturned. Some ended the night at Rambam Hospital.

To this day, more than a decade after the wedding (and more than ten years after the divorce), everyone remembers it because of the rain, some because of the accident, and a minority because of the moment musician Gil Aldama, who was a guest at the wedding, picked up the accordion Gideon, the bride’s father. Esther Gamlielit, the best friend of the bride’s family, who came from nearby Ramat Yishai.

Together they swept the wet guests and lifted the mood, even to the groom’s mother, who had loved Esther Gamlielit so much since “broom” days and who always said it was a terrible pity that she had suddenly disappeared.

Please don’t greet me
Please don’t say I’ll be back again
Please don’t say another day will come
Memories will be a dream

Please don’t greet me
Please don’t say I’ll be back again
Because the roads of tomorrow are shrouded in fog
And all you have left is a dream
(“Please don’t greet me” / Lyrics: Oded Avishar)

The first picture
For three and a half years, Esther Gamlielit has been shining in the sky of our singer. Three and a half years in which she managed to pick up the title “Nightingale Eretz-Israel”.

Her kind personality and sonorous voice that played like a flute captured the hearts of her listeners. When her songs were broadcast on Kol Yerushalayim, pedestrians were stopped on the street and gathered near rare radios that worked in newsstands … to listen to her singer. She taught songs performed by endearing spells and was loved wherever she performed.
(Website Zimrashet / Emanuel (Ami) Yirimi)

She was born in 1919 in Egypt, in the middle of a family trip to Palestine. Her singing talent was discovered at the Geula school she attended. But the road to glory was long and not easy. “I had an assistant who sang while she was cleaning. Her name was Esther. Esther Gamlielit,” said another Esther, Esther Rubin, the wife of the painter Reuven.
Fifteen-year-old Esther Gamliel might have continued to clean the houses of city haters had she not come across an ad for the opening of a “modern ballet and oriental dance studio,” published by Rina Nikova.
A few words about Rina Nikova: She moved from Russia a few years earlier and was considered a pioneer of classical ballet in the country.

Nikova conducted the ballet troupe of the opera Eretz Israel, in which she danced as a prima ballerina, of course. Her dance partner was David Brainin, who at one point decided to go out into the big world and perished in Auschwitz.
A year after returning from performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Rina Nikova founded the Studio for Modern Ballet and Oriental Dance. She formed a band of seven young dancers, all from Yemen. Among them was Rachel Nadav, a native of Eden who made a famous career and reached for the famous band Martha Graham.
The young Esther Gamlielit participated in the band.

She danced and also sang. An enthusiastic journalist who heard her sing in the band unaccompanied recommended her to the directors of the show Kol Kol. On New Year’s Eve 1937, 18-year-old Esther was invited to perform a number of songs. The reactions were enthusiastic and immediate.

“It is my request that you write a few lines in your newspaper,” an excited listener wrote to the Palestinian Post editor. “We’ve heard the new star sing, and better than many famous singers. Esther Gamliel. And whoever has met a beautiful Yemeni girl will agree with me that it’s even more desirable to hear and see her. She’s gifted with all the talent and magic needed. for a first-rate singer. ”
Whoever heard it and was impressed as the same passionate reader was Joseph Goland from the stars of the Broom Theater.

break
He joined the Broom Theater in 1933, when the theater was 5 years old, and had already taken an honorable place in the community. Yosef Goland gained fame and became one of the stars of the theater, when he performed a song by Emanuel Rus and Moshe Wilenski “Aunt, Tell Us Yes”.

The man is trying
He is building the earth
And the amount in the bank is not entirely small
Monday, orchard and vineyard
The woman has not yet married him
Please tell me what these big puppies are about …..

Aunt, tell us yes
We want to get married
We can’t take it anymore
Our happiness, everything
Aunt, tell us yes

The song was so successful and became a crazy hit, that it was decided to release it on record. This was the first record of a Hebrew song published in Israel.
Goland was so thrilled with the young singer that he saw one of Purim’s famous balls from Tel Aviv bring him to the Broom Theater. “A natural singer, with an exceptional voice and crystal clear,” composer Moshe Wilensky praised her and hurried to write her songs. Almost every song she performed on the broom stage became a hit that was sung all over the country.
Suddenly he stopped on his way to Afula and Nazareth
All the boys fell out on Mother Road
And they just kidnapped me in the van and set sail
And the truck won’t catch up with us forever

The van is traveling. The van is driving here
From the shores of the Dead Sea to Ein Hamifratz
Tonight is a dark night
Van What night from the night?

Your truck cracked in the song
His heart is wide and young
If there is a fire in front of us. If the fire from the back
Van, don’t stop!
(“Van travels” / Text: Yaakov Orland)

Another picture
Avigdor Yossifon was a member of the Hashomer Association. In 1941, he saw Esther Gamlielit on stage. “Avigdor was a handsome man,” she told Yaak’s Bar-On in an interview. “At the end of the show, he approached me and said straight to the point, ‘I want you.’ I tried to claim that I was in a hurry, but it didn’t help. He didn’t let me go for a week. “We got married a week later.” And so, with the exception of a few excursions here and there, the glorious and short career of the “nightingale Eretz-Israel” ended. Most of Esther Gamlielit’s time was dedicated to children and family.
In 1960, 20 years after her retirement from the stage, Haim Hefer and Dan Ben-Amotz brought us “There Were Times,” a show that brought back to the stage the stars of the past who had disappeared from us. I was 15 years old and I was sitting with my mother in the stands of the Hall of Culture. It was impossible to remain indifferent when the excited audience received their stars with loud applause and sang out loud all the songs, which everyone knew by heart.
When Esther Gamlielit came on stage, the roof almost flew off. It was a reception I didn’t remember. The audience seemed to applaud the lost daughter who returned to him after many years. And she thanked them with a shy smile with a bow and another bow and a bow and another bow, until the thunder of applause subsided after a very long minute.

The whole village is quiet, peaceful
Where, where the herds
The way I’m going
And my eyes towards the mountains

Night lies in the mountains
Fog filled the valley
Spiritual Minister: Abigail
Come on, come on

Galil’s night, Galil’s night
The spirit is coming. Light and light
Galil’s night, night’s night
Wind, wind, night wind
(“Galil Night” / Text: Nathan Alterman)

epilogue
After retiring, did Esther Gamlielit give way to another Yemeni singer who began her career at the Broom Theater? “I made room for Shoshana Damari,” she remarked with a smile in an interview with Yaak’s Bar-On. Is it true that instead of a nightingale, a queen grew up for us? who knows.
On one of her outings, she appeared in the program of Eliyahu HaCohen, the high priest of Hebrew music.

That voice of the flute that drove everyone crazy when I was a kid also lit up the audience on the show,” Hacohen said. “She had a gleam in her eyes, the wrinkles straightened here and there, and the audience just wouldn’t let her stop. It’s hard for me to remember another singer whose audience keeps her faith even after 46 years.”
Exactly eight years ago, on October 17, 2012, 93-year-old Esther Gamlielit passed away.

19 years earlier, in 1993, guard Avigdor Yossifon sent his hand into his soul, after suffering a stroke. “I took care of everything for you and you won’t miss anything,” he told his wife Esther and shot him in the head.
She was buried next to her husband in the Guardians Association Cemetery in Kiryat Tivon.

All the rocks with their heads bowed
The valleys will listen to me
And down, near the mountain
Cypresses are on guard

But you, when is the grain?
When are you going down quickly?
When will you lie among my flocks?
Do you hear the singer from my songs?
(“The Last Star” / Text: Leah Goldberg)

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