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.
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first 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 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