NUSACH LEGACY PROJECT
DEDICATED IN MEMORY OF CANTOR HERBERT WEISER
Produced by the Philip and Sarah Belz
School of Jewish Music, a division of the
Yeshiva University affiliated Rabbi Isaac
Elchanan Theological Seminary.
The Philip and Sarah Belz School of Jewish Music of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University, is dedicated to the elevation and preservation of traditional synagogue chant. By means of classes both on campus and online, outreach seminars and mini-courses held at congregations and colleges throughout the United States, students and synagogue laymen are afforded the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills to lead synagogue services. As a foremost center in Jewish music education, our goal is to ensure the integrity and continuity of this legacy.
The goal of the NUSACH LEGACY RECORDINGS project is to present the entire recitation of the liturgy for the corpus of the Ashkenazic Synagogue Service. The traditional chant heard in these recordings reflects the Eastern European musical tradition and follows the academic curriculum as taught at the Belz School. These chants, having been transmitted from generation to generation, are sacred and may be considered as part of our rich musical mesorah. In order to conform to the climate of today’s synagogues and adhere to halakhic teachings, we have eliminated word repetitions and excessive embellishment. In addition, every effort has been made so the words of the text are rendered according to the rules of Hebrew grammar.
CANTOR HERBERT WEISER
The cantorial tradition dates back several generations in the Weiser family. Cantor Herbert Weiser’s father, Cantor Israel Weiser, served a number of congregations in Brooklyn, NY, and he was the hazzan of Beth El Jewish Center in Flatbush for many years until his retirement. Cantor Weiser’s uncle served as chief cantor of Vienna prior to World War II, and other relatives served in various cantorial posts in pre-war Europe.
Cantor Weiser received his formative Judaic education at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, where he excelled in both its high school and post-high school programs. In the years during which he served as a child soloist for his father, Herbert received formal musical training at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. During his high school and college years, Herbert studied both in the United States and Israel with renowned hazzanim such as Herman Semiatin, Shlomo Ravitz, and David Kusevitsky. While attending college and obtaining secular degrees, Cantor Weiser continued his musical studies at the Third Street Music Settlement and, while a student at the Hebrew University on scholarship from the City University of NY, he continued with musical and voice studies at the Rubin Academy.
Cantor Weiser began officiating in the 1960s, and served as the shaliach tzibur for the New Hyde Park Jewish Center and Temple Gates of Zion in Valley Stream for many years. Cantor Weiser possessed a lyric baritone voice. In recognition of his service to the Jewish Community, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Cantor Weiser appreciated the art and importance of Nusach. In addition to becoming a master of the art, he spent time educating others, both as Hazzan and as a congregant.
The Cantor Herbert Weiser Nusach Project was established in his memory to honor his love of Hazzanut and education, and to provide a platform for all to learn this beautiful and meaningful art.