Brothers George and Ira Gershwin and fellow composer and lyricist Irving Berlin, are three of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. Did you know they are all Jewish? Most people are unaware that “White Christmas,” one of the most popular Christmas songs ever, was in fact, written by Irving Berlin, a Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe whose birth name was Israel Isadore Beilin. Irving Berlin also wrote other mega-famous songs such as, “God Bless America,” “Anything You can Do” and “There’s No Business (Like Show Business).”
George and Ira Gershwin (born Jacob Gershowitz and Israel Gershowitz) are brothers who co-wrote some of the most famous American compositions of the early 20th century. With George’s compositions and Ira’s lyrics, the two are responsible for landmark songs such as, “Someone to Watch Over Me,”“I Got Rhythm” and “Summertime.” The duo also co-wrote the operas Porgy and Bess and Of Thee I Sing, amongst others. George’s crowning achievement may be his amazing 1924 composition, “Rhapsody in Blue,” used notably in the title sequence of Woody Allen’s Manhattan in 1979. Unfortunately, George passed away of a brain tumor in 1937, at the age of 38, but Ira resumed his musical career a few years later and continued to write hit songs with composers Jerome Kern, Kurt Weill and Harold Arlen.