JAFFE, ELI (1953– ), Israeli conductor. Jaffe was born in Jerusalem and graduated from The Hebrew University and the Rubin Academy of Music, majoring in conducting, theory, and percussion. In 1977 he proceeded to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he was awarded the Ernest Reed Prize for conducting in 1978. He conducted all of Israel's major orchestras as well as the London Royal Philharmonic, the Liege Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, and the Prague Symphony Orchestra, which endowed him with the title, "Honorary Guest Conductor." He is artistic director of the Jerusalem School for Cantorial Art and of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue Choir, with which he has made numerous world tours. Jaffe published an encyclopedic instructional set for the entire annual cycle of Hebrew liturgy. He is also an accomplished composer. His first symphony was performed by the Israel Philharmonic, and his wind quintet was premiered by the orchestra's wind ensemble.
Jaffe conducts wearing a kippah (skullcap) and with his ritual fringes (tzitzit) protruding. His strict observance does not permit him to participate in competitions held on the Jewish Sabbath, and he does not conduct works with Christian liturgical connotations.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.