Issachar Miron, composer of the ubiquitous song “Tzena Tzena,” died January 29 at 95, according to a New York Times obituary published this week. Just as the optimistic military anthem has been played the world over, Miron led a life spreading the joys of Jewish music wherever he went.
Miron, born Stefan Michrovsky in Poland, emigrated to Israel as a young man after losing his entire family in the Holocaust. He originally co-wrote “Tzena Tzena” as a soldier in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army in Palestine. The anthem has been sung in nearly 40 languages, and was notably popularized in the United States by Pete Seeger and the Weavers.
Miron had a long career fostering Jewish culture, including a stint as officer-in-chief of cultural programs for the IDF and national deputy director of Music for Israel’s Ministry of Education and Culture. He came to New York in the 1960s, where he worked for the Jewish Teachers Seminary and the UJA.
While he was in the United States he worked on the album Silent No More with Theodore Bikel, which advocated for Soviet Jewry. As a songwriter, his other hits include “Ufi Ruach” and “Ma Yafeh Hayom.” His work spanned film, poetry, Yiddish culture, and political advocacy.
Throughout his life Miron collected many accolades, including the Israel Engel Prize for Music. He is survived by three children, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Gabriela Geselowitz is a writer and the former editor of Jewcy.com.