Cincinnati Celebrates 50th Anniversary of HUC-JIR's School of Sacred Music

Tuesday, June 1, 1999

The country's oldest cantorial school, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion's School of Sacred Music in New York, marked its 50th anniversary with a unique concert before a full audience at the Scheuer Chapel of the HUC-JIR Cincinnati campus.

Due to the destruction of much of the Jewish musical heritage in Europe during the Holocaust, this heritage was nearly extinct. Part of the mission of the HUC-JIR School of Sacred Music, said Dr. Mark Kligman, assistant professor of Jewish musicology at the SSM, was to preserve Jewish liturgical music and revive its performance and creation by contemporary musicians. The world's largest collection of pre-1850 Jewish manuscripts is now housed in the Klau Library of the HUC-JIR. During the concert, Dr. Kligman narrated the history of the cantorial school that has invested more than 300 cantors.

Since its establishment, many SSM faculty have become renowned composers, some of whose famous compositions were performed at the concert, held in memory of Mary Ethel Sharon. Among the compositions were two written and arranged by the director of liturgical arts, Bonia Shur.

The soloists were Cantor Sharon Kohn and Cantor Andrew Bernard, accompanied by Joyce Rosenzweig (piano), Kathryn Stieler (soprano), Kelly McCormick (alto), Jonathan Blake (tenor), Jonathan Talberg (baritone) and Charles Schweitzer (tof).


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 men and women for service to 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, 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. www.huc.edu