Shlomo Hershman

Shlomo Hershman1893 - 1971

Shlomo Hershman
1893 – 1971

Shlomo Hershman was born in Tchernichov, in the Ukraine, a younger brother of the famous Mordechai Hershman. As a boy, he sang with famous Chazanim, such as Shammai Margulies (Szitomir), Meir Pissack (Berditchev), Shlomo Rabetz, (Kremenchuk) and others.As a young man, he was appointed Chazan of the famous Noszick Shul in Warsaw. Together with the famous composer, musician, and choirmaster, Davidovitch. Shlomo Hershman blossomed forth as a fine Chazan, and, in a short time, gained recognition as one of the finest Chazanim in Poland.

The repertoire sung in this Shul by Chazan and Choir consisted of the finest Synagogal compositions ever written.

Owing to the difficult economic circumstances which existed at that time in Poland, and encouraged by his wife Craina (nee Preyskel)Shlomo decided to leave. The previous year he had been invited to officiate at the consecration of the new Higher Crumpsall Synagogue in Manchester, one of the largest synagogues in the city, and they now invited him to become their permanent Chazan. He arrived in England in 1930, and it was not long before the name of Chazan Hershman became known throughout Manchester.

He served his congregation faithfully for thirty five years with great respect, and was beloved by all. His life was one of dedication, and he was a fine exponent of the Art of Chazanut, which he loved so much. He was blessed with a fine tenor voice, which was dramatic in quality, and thrilled his listeners with his renditions of the Services, truly and sincerely, displaying the great Art for which he was justly renowned.

Shlomo Hershman retired in 1965, and in appreciation for his services, his Community bestowed upon him the title of ‘Emeritus Reader’.

Apart from Chazanut, Chazan Hershman was a kind man. He was a real friend to his colleagues, and was at all times ready to help a colleague in distress, He had a genial personality, and friendly approach, and was loved by his Community.

Whenever I had occasion to meet him, he would always stress the great Mitzva of Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick), and the unstinting and devoted service which he gave to the Manchester Visitation Board, was recognised and appreciated by the wider Manchester Community.

With the passing of Shlomo Hershman, Manchester Jewry, and indeed, the world of Chazanut has been deprived of a giant among Chazanim, who can never be replaced. He was probably one of the last exponents of the “Golden Age” of Chazanut.

May his contribution to the Great Art of Chazanut be an inspiration to all his colleagues, and may they follow his fine example to uphold the finer art of our Sacred Calling.

(Based on an appreciation of Cantor Hershman, written by Rev Jacob Sherman, and published in the Cantors’ Review, 1971)