Price: $18.00


    Produced by: The Historic Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York City, founded 1654
    Music edited and arranged by Choirmaster Leon Hyman and late Choirmaster Siegfried Landau. 

    This recording has been produced as a project of the Jacques Monis Cohenca Music Fund of Congregation Shearith Israel, as part of Shearith Israel's 350th anniversary celebrations.

    Choirmaster: Leon Hyman
    Hazzan: Rabbi Ira Rohde (solo: Tenu Shebaha; Et Sha'arei Ratson; Tal; Lekh Le-Shalom Geshem; El Nora.)
    Congregation Shearith Israel Choir Singers:
    Jonathan Koch (solo: Psalm 23, Mendes; Lekh Le-Shalom Geshem.)
    Philip Black
    David Ossen (solo: Psalm 23, Kramer; Min Hametsar; Samahti.)
    Cory Colton
    Philip Anderson (solo: V'shameru; Adon Olam.)
    Adam Hyman
    Donald Behrman
    James Aaron
    Michael Rich
    Donald Cooper (solo: Min Hametsar-introduction.)
    LeRoy Lehr (solo: Ubnuho, Naumbourg; Emet Malkeinu, Lyons.) 

    (Page numbers refer to the Prayer Books edited by Rabbi Dr. David de Sola Pool, published by the Union of Sephardic Congregations)
    Psalm 23 - Mendes (Daily-Sabbath, page 174)
    Ubnuho - Mendes (Daily-Sabbath, page 218)
    Psalm 23 - Kramer (Daily-Sabbath, page 174)
    Emet Malkeinu - Kramer (Daily-Sabbath, page 232)
    Misheberakh - Kramer (Daily-Sabbath, page 204)
    El Erekh Apayim - Kramer (Yom Kippur, page 269)
    Yehi Hasdekha - Kramer (Daily-Sabbath, page 215)
    Emet Malkeinu - Lyons (Daily-Sabbath, page 232)
    9. Yigdal - Lyons (Daily-Sabbath, page 177)
    10. Tenu Shebaha - Lyons (Festivals, page 115)
    11. Adon Olam - de Sola (Daily-Sabbath, page 232)
    12. V'shameru- Naumbourg (Daily-Sabbath, page 166)
    13. Ubnuho - Naumbourg (Daily-Sabbath, page 218)
    14. Min Hametsar - Halevy (Daily-Sabbath, page 350)
    15. Yehi Hasdekha - Mombach (Daily-Sabbath, page 215)
    16. Misheberakh - Rossi (Daily-Sabbath, page 204)
    17. Ubnuho - Sulzer (Daily-Sabbath, page 218)
    18. Hallelujah - Moss (Daily-Sabbath, page 47)
    19. Samahti-Psalm 122 (Festivals, page 42)
    20. Et Sha'arei Ratson (New Year, page 219)
    21. Tal (Festivals, page 302)
    22. Lekh LeShalom Geshem (Festivals, page 304)
    23. El Nora (Yom Kippur, page 294)

    About this CD: 
    This CD was prepared under the direction of Rabbi Dr. Marc D. Angel, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel. The production and editing of the music were done by Mr. Leon Hyman, Shearith Israel's Choirmaster.
    In 1998, Mrs. Emilia Cohenca and family established a Music Fund at Congregation Shearith Israel in memory of the late Mr. Jacques Monis Cohenca, a devoted congregant who attended services at Shearith Israel regularly. He deeply appreciated the magnificent musical traditions of this historic Congregation.
    The Jacques Monis Cohenca Music Fund has sponsored annual concerts of Shearith Israel choir music. The present CD includes selections performed at the concerts in the spring of 1999, 2000 and 2001. 

    The first ten selections on this CD are compositions by individuals who were themselves associated with Congregation Shearith Israel. Mr. Leon M. Kramer served as Shearith Israel's Choirmaster from 1883 until his death in 1943. He had studied music at the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin, and had been Assistant to the famous composer Louis Lewandowski. Reverend Dr. Henry Pereira Mendes, born in Birmingham England in 1852, was associated with Shearith Israel as its Rabbi and Rabbi Emeritus from 1877 until his death in 1937. Hazzan Jacques Judah Lyons (1813-1877), born in Surinam, served as Hazzan of Shearith Israel from 1839 until his death in 1877.
    The Shearith Israel Choir repertoire also includes compositions by leading European Jewish composers. Selections 11-18 of this CD are such pieces. Rev. David Aaron de Sola, born in Amsterdam in 1796, was known as the "learned Hazzan" of English Sephardic Jewry. In 1818, he began his service at the Bevis Marks Synagogue, and served the community in London until his death in 1860. Samuel Naumbourg, born in Bavaria in 1817, spent most of his life in France. He published several volumes of Jewish music, and was a leading figure in European Jewish musical circles until his death in 1880. Jacques Francois Fromental Elie Halevy (1799-1862) was a
    famous French operatic composer, born in Paris, of Sephardic lineage. A prolific composer of operas, cantatas and ballets, he became permanent secretary of the Academie des Beaux Arts in 1854. Julius Lazarus Mombach was born in Germany in 1813 and died in England in 1880. He was Director of the Choir of the Great Synagogue in London where he served for over 50 years. Salomone Rossi (c. 1570-1628), was the first composer of choral music for the synagogue. Born in Mantua, he was a remarkably talented musician. In 1605 he published a selection of musical settings for some Psalms and other liturgical texts. Salomon Sulzer (1804-1890) was born in Germany. In 1820 he was appointed Cantor at Hohenens, where he introduced a choir. In 1826, he was invited to serve as Chief Cantor in a congregation in Vienna. He published several volumes of synagogue music. Moss, about whom we have little information, was a 19th century musician, probably of British origin.
    Most of the Shearith Israel liturgy is chanted to traditional Western Sephardic melodies, many of which are quite ancient. Selections 1-18 have been incorporated into the Shearith Israel service during the 19th and 20th centuries.
    Selections 19 through 23 on this CD are examples of traditional melodies, whose composers are not known to us. These pieces relate to the themes of love of Israel and hope for ultimate redemption.
    Hazzan Ira Rohde has noted that "the music used in the liturgy at Shearith Israel is a mixture of strata of varying ages, and many of the layers are often so fused and intertwined as to make their elements difficult to differentiate and identify. Most of the choral arrangements, for example, date from the early to middle 20th century, although the melody lines upon which they are based are far older."
    We hope that listeners will enjoy and be inspired by the selections on this CD. We invite you to attend services at Shearith Israel to experience the profound beauty and solemnity of the synagogue services.

    About Congregation Shearith Israel
    Congregation Shearith Israel, the historic Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York City, was founded in 1654, and is the oldest Jewish congregation in North America. From 1654 until 1825, Shearith Israel was the only Jewish congregation in New York City.
    Members of Shearith Israel struggled for and won religious and civil freedoms for Jews in America. They played an important role in the American Revolution, and have been actively involved in civic life throughout the generations.
    Even from its earliest days, Shearith Israel had Sephardic and Ashkenazic members. Although the synagogue service follows the custom of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, deriving from Amsterdam, the membership of Shearith Israel is diverse. Sephardim and Ashkenazim work together in harmony for the wellbeing of the congregation and the community.
    The Main Sanctuary of Shearith Israel's synagogue building on the corner of Central Park West and 70th Street has recently been restored to the way it appeared when first built in 1897. The architect of this historic landmark building was Arnold Brunner. The stained glass windows and interior of the sanctuary were designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The Main Sanctuary is considered to be one of Tiffany's masterpieces.
    Adjoining the Main Sanctuary is the Little Synagogue, that includes furnishings dating back to the congregation's first synagogue building on Mill Street in 1730. The historic artifacts and archives of Shearith Israel reflect the American-Jewish experience going back to Colonial Days.
    For more information about the Congregation, please contact the synagogue office:

    Congregation Shearith Israel 8 West 70th Street New York, NY 10023 Phone (212)873-0300 Fax(212)724-6165 Email: