Lewis Shoot

Lewis Shoot1884 - 1959

Lewis Shoot
1884 – 1959

Lewis Shoot was born in Russia in 1884. He had a remarkable career as a boy chazan travelling to many parts of the country. He came to London in 1904 where he was obliged to learn a trade and he became a skilled watchmaker. He married Rebecca Wolkind in 1908 and they had four children.He served successfully as a choirmaster, firstly at the Philpot Street Synagogue, and from 1915-1935 at the Hammersmith and West Kensington Synagogue where he had a very good mixed choir.

In 1935 Mr Shoot was appointed choirmaster to the cathedral synagogue of Anglo Jewry, The Great Synagogue, Dukes Place London, where his choir consisted of 40 men and boys. He penned a wide variety of musical arrangements which included around 15 versions of Adon Olom. He also produced musical arrangements for some of the greatest Cantors of his time including Simcha Kusivitsky and Cantor Siroto

In October 1937 Simcha Kusivitsky was appointed Chazan. He was indeed fortunate to have the support of the best choir in the U.K. Every Shabat the music was different and the service could last between three to four hours.

On Friday night the shul was full to capacity, and people came from near and far to hear the music of Great Synagogue.

Mr Shoot retired in 1956 and although in poor health and in his declining years, he came out of retirement to train a choir for the Willesden Synagogue, in London.

(Note from Geoffrey Shisler: When I was a very young lad living in Brighton, I recall that Mr Shoot came down to the Middle Street Synagogue where Rev Beryl Braunstein was Chazan, to train and conduct a choir for the Yamim Noraim. I was in that choir and, although I cannot honestly say that I remember exactly how it went, I do remember it as a very happy time.)

Mr Shoot died in November 1959 at the age of 75. Mr B. Cousin Chairman of the Choirmasters Association, wrote in an obituary published in the Jewish Chronicle:

“Mr Lewis Shoot was respected and admired by

        choirmasters, chazanim and choristers with whom he
        came in contact during the half century in which he
        served as choirmaster. His knowledge of synagogue
        music, cantorial and choral was immence.The teaching
        of Synagogue music was his passion and his was
        indeed a dedicated life.”A memorial service arranged by Mr Manny Fisher took place in December 1959 at the Great Synagogue Adler House.
I am very grateful to Mr Henry Shoot, the son of Lewis Shoot,
who wrote this article.