Passing Down the Ancient Craft of Organ Building In Western Galilee, Israel

Gideon Shamir entrusts apprentice Uri Shani with his workshop, where metal and wooden organ pipes soar upwards like mountain peaks.

I was so enchanted during my visit at this workshop for organ building in the Galilee. The article appeared in Israel21C, which has fabulous news about Israel. I am sure you will enjoy reading this.

Uri Shani, left, and Gideon Shamir in front of organ pipes they will restore. Photo by Diana Bletter

I was so enchanted during my visit at this workshop for organ building in the Galilee. The article appeared in Israel21C, which has fabulous news about Israel. I am sure you will enjoy reading this.

For over 40 years, Gideon Shamir, 82, was the only organ builder in Israel. He searched for an apprentice to whom he could pass on his legacy and knowledge, but never found anyone with the patience to do the work.

Then, in June 2021, Shamir took theatre director and playwright Uri Shani, 55, under his wing.

“Uri passed the test with flying colors,” Shamir said. “He grasps what I’m trying to teach, he has good hands and musical ears.”

On February 14, the day I visited Ugavim, Shamir’s organ-building workshop and recital space in Yuvalim, in the Galilee hills, the two men signed a formal agreement. The business is now in the younger man’s hands.

Ugavim’s large, high-ceilinged workshop is filled with metal and wooden organ pipes that soar upwards Jewish organ music.

Shamir points out that the organ is first mentioned in the beginning of the Bible. Genesis 4:21 introduces Yuval, “the father of all who play the harp and the pipe — kinor v’ugav. How fitting that Ugavim (Pipes) is located in Yuvalim.

Read the rest of the story here.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a freelance reporter for The Jerusalem Post, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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1 Response to Passing Down the Ancient Craft of Organ Building In Western Galilee, Israel

  1. Sydney Morris says:

    I had no idea of organing happy to have read y Your articleGood luck with it and I love you Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS

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