It is with deep sadness that I share the news of the death of Cantor William Sharlin, z"l, Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Sacred Music and Jewish Liturgy, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, who organized the Los Angeles campus's Department of Sacred Music in 1954. He was the cantorial mainstay and cantor of the synagogue of our Los Angeles campus for nearly six decades. Cantor Sharlin was a musical and cantorial genius and a mentor to countless rabbis and cantors. Educated at Yeshiva University, he taught in countless Reform Movement settings and, in the course of his work, discovered composer Bonia Shur, zl, who soon after joined our Cincinnati campus as Director of Liturgical Arts.
As Dr. William Cutter recalls, "Cantor Sharlin took people's natural inclination to sing and play and brought that into prayer. He used his guitar at Leo Baeck Temple and at HUC-JIR to get people to sing, and to introduce complex musical ideas. He challenged all cliches about prayer. His canon of compositions will endure."
The HUC-JIR community extends heartfelt sympathy to Cantor Sharlin's family.
Zichrono livracha -- May his memory be an everlasting blessing to us all.