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Prior Cantors

Norman Rose 1956-1967

Norman Rose was born in Rochester, New York. As a child, he sang in synagogue choirs with his father. He attended the Curtis Institute of Music at a very young age, and then served in the Army Air Corps in World War II. He was a radio operator gunner on a B-24 Liberator, flying 34 missions out of Italy.

Following the war, Rose enrolled in the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, where he graduated with a Master’s in Music. While at Eastman, he and nine lucky women voice students received a gift from the Italian government to study opera at La Scala in Milan. The gift was a thank you to the U.S. government for repairing the damage to La Scala caused by American bombing raids. Two years into the program, the Korean War began, so the singers returned to the United States. Rose continued on to New York where he pursued a career in opera. He soon learned that “show biz” was not for him, although he remains devoted to all things Italian, and includes Italian arias and folk songs in his repertoire. He took his experience in chazzanut to the Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music, where he was ordained as a Cantor-Educator in 1956.

In a career that has spanned fifty years, Cantor Rose has had the distinction of being the first cantor hired by every congregation he has served: Temple Israel in Akron, Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo, New York, from 1967 until 1972, and for thirty-two years at Temple Emanu-El in Oak Park, Michigan.

He was given an honorary doctorate in 2006 and recently received an award from the American Conference of Cantors for Lifetime Service of 50 years in the cantorate. He is mentioned in the Congressional Record for his service at Temple Emanu-El in Michigan.

The Roses have two daughters and four grandchildren.

Cantor Rose passed away on July 26, 2007.

Gedaliah Gertz 1968-1995

Gedaliah Gertz was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1930, the youngest of four brothers. Always involved with music, he was active in the folk revival movement, singing with a Pete Seeger youth group and other folk singers as a teenager. As a young man, he served his country on the front lines of the Korean War in the 2nd Infantry Division. In one photo, he is pictured next to a jeep which has the sign “Rough-Ridin’ Rabbi” on the back, as he assisted in attending to the religious needs of other Jewish soldiers serving in Korea.

Upon his return home, Gertz attended Hebrew Union College and graduated with the class of 1957, ordained as a Cantor-Educator. Cantor Gertz served his first congregation, Boro Park Progressive Synagogue, first as a student, and then after graduation. He continued his Cantorial training, both then and throughout his career, with his close friend, Cantor Raymond Smolover, who joined Gertz at Temple Israel for several liturgical events. Many of the melodies that Temple members enjoy from the pulpit were written by Cantor Gertz, Cantor Smolover, or Cantor Chuck Davidson (Cantor Raymond Smolover’s brother-in-law).

In 1958 Cantor Gertz was installed as the first Cantor at Temple B’nai Israel Reform Congregation in Oklahoma City. After several years as Cantor-Educator and youth group advisor, he was hired in the same capacity by a conservative congregation, Emanuel Synagogue, also in Oklahoma City.

In 1968 Cantor Gertz began his relationship at Temple Israel in Akron, Ohio, where he remained until his sudden death in 1995. During his tenure, he was extremely active in nurturing congregants of all ages with energy and creativity. Several youngsters who grew up under Cantor Gertz’s tutelage went on to become Rabbis, Cantors, or active Jewish Youth Leaders. Today, the Temple Israel Religious School is named the Cantor Gedaliah Gertz Education Center in his memory. Cantor Gertz also had a deep interest in families, receiving his Master’s degree in Family Studies and serving as a mediator for the family courts.

Cantor Gedaliah Gertz is remembered by his wife Lola, his daughter Susan and her husband Tom, his daughter Deborah, his son Geoffry and his partner Christopher, and his granddaughter Laura and grandson William. Cantor Gedaliah Gertz passed away on April 5, 1995.

Samuel Dov Berman – 19962002 ???

Rory Sanders – 20022008 (Cantorial Soloist)

Jason Rosenman  2008 – 2015

Some of Cantor Jason Rosenman’s work included the following:

  • Tutored and instructed of Bar/Bat Mitzvah students
  • Assisted in Youth Group Services
  • Directed Adult and Junior Choirs
  • Officiated at life cycle events
  • Teacher of Hebrew and Judaica
  • Taught Adult Education
  • Led Torah Study
  • Taught Religious School Music
  • Performed Bikur Cholim (made hospital visitations)

Kathy Fromson 2015current



Wed, April 8 2020 14 Nisan 5780