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‘Israel’s king of pop’ Svika Pick laid to rest in private ceremony

Iconic singer died Sunday at 72; funeral held in Ramat Hasharon attended by friends and family; songwriter Yoav Ginai and actor Nicky Goldstein deliver eulogies

Israeli pop composer and singer Svika Pick, on September 21, 2004. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Israeli pop composer and singer Svika Pick, on September 21, 2004. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Renowned Israeli pop singer and songwriter Svika Pick was laid to rest Monday at the New Ramat Hasharon Cemetery in a ceremony attended by family and friends.

Per the family’s request, the public was not invited to attend. Security guards were stationed nearby to prevent uninvited guests from arriving.

Musicians Aviv Geffen, Arik Berman, Harel Moyal, Oshik Levi and Nisim Garame were among those who came to pay their final respects to Pick, considered by many one of the most influential musicians Israel has ever produced.

Songwriter Yoav Ginai and actor Nicky Goldstein delivered eulogies.

Pick was buried while attendees recited the words of his song “Neesaf Tishrei” in the background, according to a report by the Ynet news site.

The ceremony was concluded with people clapping in Pick’s memory around his grave as part of a Greek tradition, the report said.

Pick’s passing did not go unnoticed abroad, with leading international publications eulogizing the Israeli musician.

A piece by Agence France-Presse (AFP) that was picked up by several other leading publications referred to Pick as “Israel’s king of pop,” while the Associated Press said Pick was “a pillar of Israel’s music industry” and mentioned his nickname “The Maestro.”

Pop singer Svika Pick, 72, died August 14, 2022 (Courtesy Michal Kahana)

Pick died at his home in Ramat Hasharon on Sunday. He was 72.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid mourned his loss with words Pick had sung: “‘Music penetrates the heart’ — a sentence that describes most of his songs and tunes that penetrated the heart and Israeli culture… Svika was a revolutionary artist of his generation, a pillar of Israeli pop. Svika died today, but his songs and music that are left behind will continue to be played for many years.”

The lyrics quoted by Lapid are from the song “Mala, Mala” (“Up, Up”) on Pick’s 1978 breakthrough album, “Music.”

The musician, born Henryk Pick in Wroclaw, Poland, immigrated to Israel with his family as a child. Born into a musical family with a grandfather who headed a music school and an uncle who was a professor of music, Pick began studying classical music at the age of five. He continued his musical studies in Israel, studying at the Ramat Gan Music Center and performing in local rock bands as a teenager.

He released nine albums in the 1970s and collaborated closely with his first wife, Mirit Shem-Or, who wrote many of Pick’s hits, including “Mary Lou,” which was about her, as well as songs on the albums “This Is My Way,” “What Now” and “Kaleidoscope.”

Pick and Shem-Or continued to collaborate after their 2003 divorce. Daniella Pick, one of their three children, is married to American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, and  they live part of the year in Tel Aviv.

Pick had been in a relationship with Israeli fashion designer Shira Manor since 2004 and they have two sons, Tim and Neal. The two separated last year.

Jessica Steinberg contributed to this report.

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