Newly-established honorary doctorates to be awarded to distinguished cantorial alumni - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Newly-established honorary doctorates to be awarded to distinguished cantorial alumni

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Monday, November 2, 1998

The Academic, Spiritual and Professional Development Center for Reform Judaism

HUC-JIR to Award Newly-Established Honorary Doctorates to 
Distinguished Cantorial Alumni

Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, HUC-JIR President, will confer the Doctor of Music degree, honoris causa, on twenty-three distinguished cantorial alumni on November 24, 1998 at 10:30 AM at the School of Sacred Music 50th Anniversary Convocation at 1 W. 4th Street, New York City. Cantorial honorees are being recognized for their distinguished service as cantors, chaplains, and educators on behalf of the Jewish people.

This convocation will mark the first time cantors have received honorary degrees at HUC-JIR. In future years, cantors will receive the Doctor of Music degree at the annual Founders Day ceremonies, where rabbis receive a Doctor of Divinity Degree. Throughout the Reform movement cantors are recognized for their clergy services - as leaders of congregational prayer, composers of liturgical poetry and song, educators, spiritual counselors, youth leaders, and leaders of Reform Judaism, the largest growing denomination of Judaism in the United States.

The November 24 Convocation will be the culmination of a two-day conference, Music, Spirit & Scholarship: The Legacy of Eduard Birnbaum, on November 22-23. The international conference will bring together cantors, musicologists, composers, and historians to explore research based on the rare liturgical documents and cantorial manuscripts recovered from Europe by the cantor, composer, and collector Eduard Birnbaum. The conference will feature lectures, recitals, a concert, a colloquium focusing on the role of the cantor today and a survey of the history, academic and musical contributions of the School of Sacred Music

The School of Sacred Music is the nation's oldest institution dedicated to educating cantors - leaders of congregational prayer, composers of liturgical poetry and song, teachers, and communal leaders. Based at HUC-JIR's New York School, the SSM is the only Reform Jewish cantorial school in the world. Founded in 1948, the SSM made a commitment to preserve the rich Jewish musical traditions that war-torn Europe had virtually lost. As the School dedicated itself to training cantors, it gathered a distinguished faculty representative of the great masters, began publishing out-of-print classics and established an academic and cultural center for Jewish music, with the Chazzan at its center. The SSM promotes Jewish musical creativiy, and through its Sacred Music Press, preserves and publishes the rare music holdings of the HUC-JIR Klau Library, one of the most extensive Jewish libraries in the world.

Honorary Doctorate Recipients

Robert Paul Abelson, Cantor, Temple Israel/ New York, NY

Lawrence Avery, Cantor Emeritus, Beth El Synagogue/ New Rochelle, NY

Ben W. Belfer, Cantor Emeritus, Temple B'nai Sholom/ Rockville Center, NY

Richard Botton, Cantor Emeritus, Central Synagogue/ New York, NY

Walter Davidson, z"l (posthumously)

Lawrence B. Ehrlich, Cantor Emeritus, Rodef Sholom/ Youngstown, OH

Nathaniel Arthur Entin, Cantor Emeritus, Congregation Or Ami/ Lafayette Hill, PA

Herbert I. Epstein, Cantor Emeritus, Peninsula Temple Beth El/ San Mateo, CA

Martin Feldman, Cantor, Congregation Sherith Israel/ San Francisco, CA

Edward R. Fogel, Cantor Emeritus, Congregation Shaare Emeth/ St. Louis, MO

Marshall Martin Glatzer, Cantor Emeritus, Har Sinai Temple/ Trenton, NJ

Edward Graham, Cantor Emeritus, Larchmont Temple/ Larchmont, NY

Murray William Hochberg, Cantor, United Hebrew Congregation/ St. Louis, MO

Sheldon Foster Merel, Cantor Emeritus, Congregation Beth Israel/ San Diego, CA

Harold Orbach, Cantor, Temple Israel/ West Bloomfield, MI

Joseph Leon Portnoy, Cantor Emeritus, Caongregation Emanuel/ San Francisco, CA

Kurt Silbermann, Cantor Emeritus, Temple Emanu-El/ Englewood, NJ

Paul Cyril Silbersher, Cantor, Temple B'nai Jehudah/ Kansas City, MO

Howard Michael Stahl, Cantor, Temple Israel/ Lawrence, NY

Norman Summers, Cantor, B'nai Jeshurun/ Short Hills, NJ

George Leonard Wald, Cantor Emeritus, Mosaic Law Congregation/ Sacramento, CA

George Weinflash, Cantor Emeritus, Temple Beth El/ Spring Valley, NY

Arthur Wolfson, z"l (posthumously)


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.