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[fusion_toggle title="Samuel Rosenbaum Award for Scholarship and Creativity"]
Hazzan Mike Stein is a dynamic cantor who combines the rich Jewish heritage of his upbringing in New York’s Conservative Movement with a successful career in music and theater. He performed in three Broadway shows, including a starring role in Jesus Christ Superstar. He is a retired member of the United States Navy where he played violin in The United States Navy Band, working for four presidents and traveling the world extensively. He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1999, and won a Grammy in 2005 in the Best Children’s Music category. He is the violinist on many recordings for major artists including Mary Chapin Carpenter and Eva Cassidy. Hazzan Stein also was on Season 7 of the Voice.
Still it is his Jewish roots that influence his life most strongly. A member of the Cantors Assembly, his Judaic knowledge is a product of a strong Jewish education at the Bellerose Jewish Center in Queens. He has a bachelors degree from the State University of New York, and during his career in the United States Navy, he earned the Navy Commendation, and Navy Achievement medals. Mike has written complete worship services which he leads with his family. They include: “Shabbat in Swing Time (jazz);” “Down Home Shabbat (bluegrass);” “Reggae Shabbat;” “Love Is All You Need (Beatles);” and “Rock-In Shabbat (R&R).” He has also written many melodies that are used on a regular basis each Shabbat and for High Holy Days. He is also a member of the Helfman Group, a group of LA writers writing Jewish music.
He has a wife (Kelley) and three sons (Jacob, Justin and Jared). His family plays Jewish music together in a group that they lovingly call the “Rolling Steins.”
- Henry Rosenblum (2000)
- Sholom Kalib (2001)
- Joe Levine (2002)
- Abe Lubin (2003)
- Abraham Shapir (2004)
- Chaim Najman (2005)
- Sol Mendelson (2006)
- Morton Shames (2007)
- Sam Weiss (2008)
- Steven Stoehr (2010)
- David Tilman (2011)
- Charles Davidson (2012)
- Jacob Ben-Zion Mendelson (2013)
- Jeffrey Shiovitz (2014)
- Lawrence Avery (2015)
- Sheldon Levin (2016)
[fusion_toggle title="Max Wohlberg Award for Composition"]
2017 Recipient: Hazzan Jerome Kopmar
Cantor Jerome B. Kopmar, a native of Hartford CT, is a graduate of the Cantors Institute/College of Jewish Music (H.L. Miller Cantorial School) of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He also studied at the Hartt College of music – University of Hartford – where he was a student of Cantor Arthur Koret. He also studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was a scholarship student of the great American Metropolitan Opera soprano Eleanor Steber. Cantor Kopmar was a practicing cantor for thirty-five years, two years at Temple Israel in Albany, NY, six years at Beth El Congregation in Akron, OH, and twenty-seven years at Beth Abraham Synagogue in Dayton, OH. Upon his retirement in 1996, he was named Cantor-Emeritus of Beth Abraham.
Both in Akron and Dayton, Cantor Kopmar founded and conducted youth choirs that were internationally renowned, the Beth El Junior Choral Society in Akron (the first youth choir to ever appear in concert at a Cantors Assembly convention), and the Beth Abraham Youth Chorale in Dayton. With these two groups he commissioned and premiered thirty-two major works of Jewish music, both liturgical and secular, for youth choir, orchestra, and soloists. They produced twenty-eight recordings, many of which are still available in CD editions. Some of the most distinguished cantors/singers of our time, including Louis Danto, Isaac Goodfried, Alberto Mizrahi, Jacob Barkin, Moshe Taubè, David Lefkowitz, and the world renowned Metropolitan Opera star Jan Peerce performed world premieres with the Chorale. The Beth Abraham Youth Chorale traveled throughout North America, Europe, and Israel in performing music that was especially created for them by some of the most renowned composers of Jewish Music. In 2003 Cantor Kopmar was awarded the Moshe Nathanson Award by the Cantors Assembly for his conducting accomplishments. Cantor Kopmar also received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2006.
As a vocalist, Cantor Kopmar has appeared in concerts and recitals throughout the United States, Canada, Israel, and Europe. He has five solo recordings to his credit, of which the latest ‘Songs of My Heart’, consists of him performing his own music with the Wesleyan Chamber Orchestra.
Composition came to Cantor Kopmar late in his career. Yet since 1986 he has composed more than 500 compositions both liturgical and secular for solo voice, choir, and orchestra. His music has been published by Tara Publications, Transcontinental Music Publishers, and the Cantors Assembly which has published three volumes of his music with a fourth, ‘Hodu B’Zamru’, a collection of art songs on biblical texts, to be published in the Spring of 2017.
Cantor Kopmar, upon his retirement from being a full-time cantor, became an adjunct professor of vocal studies at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, as well as a private teacher at Dayton’s High School for the Arts. He also was the conductor of the Sinclair Women’s Camerta Singers. He retired after fifteen years from Sinclair College and now has a private voice studio located at his former synagogue, Beth Abraham. Cantor Kopmar resides in Clayton, OH with his wife Goldye, a highly regarded violin instructor. They are the proud parents of four children, twelve grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.
- Charles Davidson (2001)
- Gerald Cohen (2003)
- Sol Zim (2006)
- Meir Finkelstein (2008)
- David Brandhandler (2010)
- Lawrence Avery (2013)
- Charles Osborne (2015)
[fusion_toggle title="Gregor Shelkan Award for Mentoring and Education"]
2017 Recipient: Hazzan Richard Nadel
Cantor Richard Nadel began his career at the age of eight when he started singing in his father's choir. During that period of time he sang with the leading cantors in the New York Metropolitan area. When his voice began to change he began conducting choirs for his father at resort hotels in the Catskill Mountains area of New York State as well as in synagogues, both in New York and New Jersey.
During this time he was a student at the Bialik School and the Yeshivah of Flatbush High School, both in Brooklyn. Cantor Nadel has studied voice with Franco Iglesias of New York City and arranging, conducting and composition with Kurt Stern, formerly of the Vienna Conservatory of Music. He holds a Bachelors of Music degree from Brooklyn College.
In 1990, during the first Gulf War, Cantor Nadel accompanied a group of twelve cantors on a trip to Israel to express the solidarity of the American Jewish Community with the people of Israel.
Cantor Nadel is the son of the famous conductor Abraham Nadel and lyric soprano Florence Nadel. He has served as chairman of the New Jersey Region of the Cantors Assembly and has been an Executive Council member of the Cantors Assembly
In 1985, following a course of study at the Bikur Cholim Hospital in Jerusalem, Cantor Nadel was certified as a Mohel. He is a noted Mohel in the Metropolitan Area.
In 1993 Cantor Nadel joined the faculty of the H.L. Miller School of Sacred music at the Jewish Theological Seminary and continues to play an active role in the education and development of future cantors.
Cantor Nadel served Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, New Jersey as its cantor from 1980 through 2012. He is married to Andrea Cook.
- Jack Mendelson (2001)
- Pinchas Spiro (2003)
- Lawrence Avery (2006)
- Henry Rosenblum (2008)
- Robert Kieval (2010)
- Israel Goldstein (2012)
[fusion_toggle title="Moshe Nathanson Award for Conducting"]
- David Tilman (2001)
- Jerry Kopmar (2003)
- Beny Maissner (2006)
- Sheldon Levin (2008)
- Joseph Ness (2010)
- Jeremy Lipton (2014)
[fusion_toggle title="David Putterman Award for Lifetime Achievement"]
- Sol Mendelson (2001)
- David Lefkowitz (2003)
- Saul Hammerman (2008)
- Morton Kula (2010)
- Ivan Perlman (2012)
- Leon Lissek (2015)
[fusion_toggle title="Saul Meisels Award for Hazzanic Excellence"]
- Moshe Taube (2001)
- Sam Fordis (2003)
- Jack Mendelson (2006)
- Alberto Mizrahi (2008)
- Faith Steinsnyder (2010)
- Nathan Chaitovsky (2014)
[fusion_toggle title="Yehudah Mandel Humanitarian Award"]
- Isaac Wall (2001)
- Kurt Silbermann (2003)
- Isaac Goodfriend (2006)
- Richard Wolberg (2008)
- Julie Blackman (2010)
- Rikki Lippitz (2013)
[fusion_toggle title="Moses Silverman Award for Service to the Assembly"]
2017 Recipient: Hazzan Joseph Gole
Joseph Gole received his Doctor of Music, honoris causa, in from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. His professional career credits have included numerous performances and appearances with various organizations including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pacific Palisades Orchestra, The American Youth Symphony, Guild Opera Company of Los Angeles, the Laguna Opera, and Euterpe Opera Company. In addition, he has performed at the Holland Festival and the Edinburgh Festival of Scotland. Concert appearances have included numerous cities throughout the United States, Canada and Israel. As a cantor, he served for over twenty-three years as the Senior Cantor of Sinai Temple, the oldest and one of the most prestigious synagogues in Los Angeles. He also served Congregation Mogen David in West Los Angeles for eighteen years. In addition, he has been a guest cantor for the High Holidays at Temple Israel in Great Neck New York and for the Persian community in Los Angeles. A native of Southern California, Joseph Gole attended the University of Judaism, Hebrew Union College, and earned his degree in opera and voice at the University of Southern California. He grew up in Los Angeles and attended Adat Ari El, Los Angeles Hebrew High and Camp Ramah. He studied privately with Hazzan Allan Michelson, Hazzan Samuel Kelemer, and Jewish repertoire coach Erwin Jospe. Also, he has worked privately in the past under the tutelage of the world famous opera singer Giorio Tozzi, Seth Riggs, and classical repertoire coaches James Low and Armen Guzelimian. He is currently studying with Richard Slade.
He served as the International President of the Cantors Assembly – the largest professional organization of cantors in the world with 550 members and was a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. A past chairman of the West Coast Region of the Cantors Assembly, Cantor Gole served as a co chairman of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Cantors Assembly that was held in New York City and appeared in performances at Carnegie Hall and Central Park He has also cochaired conventions and missions in Los Angeles, Poland and Israel. Cantor Gole is a featured cantor in the recently released documentary film – 100 Voices – a Journey Home, which played throughout the United States and Canada. In the film, he is one of the featured soloists that sang at the Warsaw Opera House, Krakow Philharmonic Hall and the Jewish Music Festival of Krakow.
A recipient of the regional United Synagogue Award for outstanding creative programming, Cantor Gole has served on the faculty at the American Jewish University, Academy of Jewish Religion and the Baal Tephilah Institute, and has encouraged numerous young hazzanim who now occupy leading cantorial positions. He has personally trained hundreds of children in the skill of conducting the cantorial portion of the Shabbat morning service and has prepared hundreds of children for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. He regularly participates in life cycle events of his congregants. Cantor Gole started the Sinai Temple Chevra Kadisha, which is the first Chevra Kadisha at a Conservative Congregation in Southern California.
- Abe Shapiro (2001)
- Larry Vieder (2003)
- Morton Shames (2006)
- Stephen Stein (2008)
- Kurt Silbermann (2010)
- David Propis (2013)
- Rebecca Carmi (2014)
- Steven Stoehr (2015)
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These awards acknowledge the accomplishments and characters of the following distinguished individuals:
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[fusion_tab title="Samuel Rosenbaum"]
- Samuel Rosenbaum (1920-1997)
- Cantors Assembly President, 1956-1959
- Cantors Assembly Executive Vice-President, 1959-1997
Hazzan Samuel Rosenbaum served as Executive Vice President of the Cantors Assembly from 1959 until his death in 1997. He labored untiringly and was successful in elevating the status and role of the hazzan in Jewish worship and in the American Jewish community. He also served with great distinction as cantor of Temple Beth El in Rochester, New York, from 1946 until 1987, when he became cantor emeritus.
An outstanding Jewish poet and writer, he was particularly well known for his moving texts for more than a dozen major musical works presented on radio and television. His translations of Yiddish poetry and folk songs also earned high praise.
A graduate of New York University and of the Herzliah Hebrew Teachers College, Hazzan Rosenbaum studied music and voice privately and prepared for the cantorate under the guidance of Hazzanim Jacob Beimel and Adolph Katchko. He was the recipient of a Doctor of Music degree, honoris causa, from the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 1985. He also received the Cantors Assembly’s Kavod Award three times.
The musical works for which he wrote librettos included Yizkor: In Memory of the Six Million (music by Sholom Secunda, presented on ABC Television with Richard Tucker and Howard da Silva and nominated for an Emmy Award in 1973), The Last Judgment (in collaboration with Lazar Weiner, presented on CBS Television), Stars in the Dust (music by Samuel Adler, a commemoration of the 50th yahrzeit of Kristallnacht), and Ever Since Babylon (music by Samuel Adler, marking the coincidental 500th anniversaries of Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain).
Numerous solo and choral works and four holiday recordings, narrated and written by Hazzan Rosenbaum, comprised another segment of his creativity. He also served for many years as managing editor of the Journal of Synagogue Music, was a consultant to the Prayer Book Press and wrote A Yiddish Word Book for English Speaking People. His commentary on the High Holiday prayer book, Machzor 101, was published posthumously.
Hazzan Rosenbaum lectured extensively on Jewish music, culture and folklore.
In his role as Executive Vice President, Sam ably guided the Cantors Assembly for two generations through many different kinds of challenges. One aspect of this was his efforts to solidify the role of the hazzan in the legal sense. He was instrumental in guiding the key court cases which accomplished this important goal. His steady hand also helped the Assembly and its membership to deal with many of the challenges of modernity, including the eventual admission of women into the organization. In this, as in all matters, Sam’s was a voice for reason, patience and vision. Through his guidance, we were able to advance the cause of all hazzanim and the Jewish people.
[fusion_tab title="Yehuda Mandel"]
Yehudah Mandel was born in 1904 in Eastern Hungary in an area which was later Czechoslovakia and is now part of the Ukraine. He received smichah in Munkach and later at the Bratislava Yeshiva. At the Vienna Kantorenschule, he studied with leading hazzanim such as Fischer, Muller and Margolis. Upon graduation, he was offered the position of Hazzan at the famous Seitenstettengassen synagogue -- "Sulzer's Temple" -- but instead became Oberkantor in Novisad, Yugoslavia. He served a number of great European synagogues with distinction prior to the Holocaust. During the war, he was in labor camps and his family was deported to Bergen-Belsen. But in 1946, he and his wife and son were reunited in Palestine. He functioned as a Hazzan in Israel until 1948, when he came to the United States.
From 1950, he served Philadelphia's Beth Judah Congregation. He held many leadership positions with cantorial and other community organizations and served as President of the Cantors Assembly from 1970 to 1972.
For many years, he served as the gabbai of services held at the Cantors Assembly Convention, and was adored by his colleagues of all ages. His dignity and erudition can still be felt today by those who were privileged to share in the glow of his warmth -- and recall the patience of the many imitations he bore over the years. It is difficult to believe that he passed from us in 1994 -- for many of us can still feel his warm presence to this day.
[fusion_tab title="Moses Silverman"]
Moses J. Silverman was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Cantor Jacob Silverman, himself a 4th generation cantor. By age 12, he was leading services while accompanied by choir. A graduate of the Damrosch Institute of the Juilliard School, he served congregations in New Jersey and Connecticut prior to beginning a lengthy tenure at Chicago’s Anshe Emet in 1940.
His outstanding voice and warm personality are remembered to this day. Silverman served as Cantors Assembly President form 1961 to 1964.
He was an influential figure throughout the Chicago Jewish community as well as nationally through the Board of Overseers of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was also a tremendous pacesetter in seeing to the financial health and well-being of the Cantors Assembly.
[fusion_tab title="Max Wohlberg"]
Max Wohlberg was born in 1907, and grew up in the Szatmar yeshiva world of Hungary. Max arrived in the United States at age 16. Self-taught as a musician, he spent countless hours studying published hazzanut, and developed a system for the scientific teaching of nusach ha-tefillah which is the foundation of Seminary teaching to this day.
Serving six congregations in a long and illustrious career, he became most associated with the city of Philadelphia, where he spent many of his later years. Max served as President of the Cantors Assembly from 1948 to 1951.
The occupant of the Nathan Cummings Chair of Hazzanut and Liturgy at the Seminary, Max taught generations of hazzanim the fundamental nusach – and touched their lives forever with his unique blend of humor, warmth, modesty and occasional skepticism.
He died in 1996 – but his portrait, hanging at the Seminary, still sends out his unique dignity, intellect and love for hazzanut and his students. And his melodies, ideas and compilations are heard in virtually every pulpit throughout North America – and will continue to be for many years to come.