Brandeis, Louis D.
Lehman, Herbert H.
Levy, Uriah P.
Magnes, Judah L.
Santangel, Luis de
Seixas, Gershom M.
Singer, Isaac B.
Straus, Isidor & Ida
Torres, Luis de
by Marika Somogyi (1988), Irving Berlin, Songwriter.
of a cantor, Irving Berlin was born Israel Baline on May 11, 1888
near the Siberian border in the Russian village of Tyumen. An
anti-Semitic pogrom in 1893 persuaded his father to bring the
entire family, including eight children, to New York.
songwriter Jerome Kern observed "Irving Berlin has no place in
American music. He is American music." Berlin songs include America's
unofficial national anthem "God Bless America," as well as perennial
standards "Easter Parade" and "White Christmas," plus about 1,500
more for which he wrote both music and lyrics.
was honored in 1944 by the National Conference of Christians and
Jews for "advancing the aims of the conference to eliminate religious
and racial conflict." Five years later, he was honored by the
New York YMHA as one of "12 outstanding Americans of the Jewish
faith." And in recognition of the song "God Bless America," Mr.
Berlin was presented with a special Congressional gold medal in
1954 by President Eisenhower. Earlier, the composer had assigned
the copyright to the God Bless America Fund, which has raised
millions of dollars for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
a gala 100th birthday celebration concert at Carnegie Hall, Morton
Gould, president of ASCAP, said that "Irving Berlin's music will
last not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a
year, but always." Not bad for a poor immigrant who had only two
years of formal schooling and who never learned to read or write
Here to Take Irving Berlin Quiz
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