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“Jerusalem of Gold,” Penned by Naomi Shemer in June 1967 with Verse Added to Celebrate the Recapture of Jerusalem Right After the Six-Day War
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NAOMI SHEMER. Autograph Manuscript Signed, lyrics, handwritten music manuscript, and a printed booklet with her signature.

Inventory #25672       Price: $125,000

Before the 1967 National Song Festival, Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek issued a call to several songwriters for a special song dedicated to Jerusalem. On Israel Independence Day, May 15, Shemer gave her debut performance of “Jerusalem of Gold” at the Song Festival. On the same day, Egyptian forces crossed the Suez Canal into the Sinai Peninsula. The Six-Day War began with a preemptive strike on June 5th. By June 7th, Israel captured Jerusalem.

At the time, Shemer was in the Sinai Desert with an army band. She heard IDF soldiers sing along as her song played on the radio.

Teddy Kollek telegraphed Shemer: “All the IDF soldiers stationed in Jerusalem and its surroundings, and all the capital’s residents, are always singing ‘Jerusalem of Gold.’ With the change in the city’s borders, we ask that you add another, uplifting verse to the song.”

She added a new verse comparing the pre-war and post-war atmosphere.

Naomi Shemer (1930-2004) was awarded the Israel Prize for Hebrew Song in 1983, with judges noting that “her songs are on everyone’s lips thanks to their poetic and musical quality, the wonderful fusion of word and melody and the expression they give to the sentiments of the people.”

1. NAOMI SHEMER. Autograph Manuscript Signed, with the lyrics of “Jerusalem of Gold,” including the verse added to the song after the Six-Day War. [June 1967]. In Hebrew, penned in four columns separated by vertical lines, with refrain at bottom is the refrain. 19½ x 13½ cm. Fine. Folding marks. Foxing.

Nearly identical to Shemer’s official handwritten version, printed in June 1967, apparently written at the same time.

2. NAOMI SHEMER. Autograph Musical Manuscript Signed, “Jerusalem of Gold,” in pencil on both sides of the leaf. Titled and signed by Shemer, with handwritten notes on the margins (in Hebrew): play one octave higher; change at the end of the song; or mezzo; the same chord. 24½ x 17 cm. Fine. Slight tears and creases, stains.

3. NAOMI SHEMER. Printed Booklet Signed, “Jerusalem of Gold,” in Hebrew with Latin transcription. Self-published – “All rights reserved by Naomi Shemer.”, Arieli Press, Tel Aviv, [June] 1967.

Printed bristol sheet, folded in half, with a photocopy of the song in Shemer’s handwriting (as noted, almost entirely identical to the copy of the song described above), notes and transcription of the lyrics (not including the additional verse) in Latin letters. Signed on the front cover, dated 13 July 1967. Folded booklet, 17 x 12½ cm. Good condition. Some stains.

The Naomi Shemer Archive at the National Library of Israel contains a copy of this booklet with Shemer’s dedication to her mother, dated June 28, 1967, attesting that the booklet was printed very shortly after the song’s additional verse was written.

Provenance

Ex-Yermiyahu [Jeremiah] ‘Yerri’ Rimon, perhaps the greatest Israeliana collector in the world. According to David Glassman, Yerri “combined encyclopedic knowledge with an especially good eye for quality and in-depth understanding. His collection was immensely broad but he nonetheless could talk passionately about every single item it contained, in detail.”

The two manuscript documents were purchased at a local auction house in the 1980s, and the printed copy of the song was purchased separately, also at auction, around the same time. Sold shortly after his death by Kedem Auction, Jerusalem. November 13, 2018.


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