Solomon Hirsh Morris

Solomon Hirsh Morris1891 - 1974

Solomon Hirsh Morris
1891 – 1974

Rev Solomon Hirsh Morris was born in Russia in 1891 in Rajgrod, a village in the area of Bialystok. Bialystok is now in Poland near the border with Belarus. Most of his working life as a Chazan was spent in Manchester, but his career started in Eastern Europe.He was a student at the Lomza Yeshiva in Poland and later at the Birenbaum Cantor School in Czestochova, also in Poland.

From 1910-1911 Rev Morris was employed as a Chazan in Szombathely in Hungary and he also worked in Breslau and Koenigsburg before moving to England via Enniskillen in Ireland.

He was employed as the reader at The Broda Synagogue on Bury New Road in North Manchester before he attracted the attention of Mr L Letter, president of The South Manchester Synagogue.

Rev Morris then served as Chazan to The South Manchester Synagogue in Fallowfield for a full 40 years from 1920 until 1960, though for many years until 1939 he travelled to Manchester from his family home in Liverpool, before settling in Withington, a short distance from the synagogue.

After his retirement, he continued as Emeritus reader and regularly led services until his death in 1974 aged 83.

A musician and Hebrew scholar who was closely involved in the affairs of the congregation, Rev Morris had a melodious baritone voice, which remained strong well beyond his retirement. His style of singing was largely free of the falsetto and vocal trills that were common amongst many chazanim of his generation from Eastern and Central Europe. He was also known for attaching great importance to the clear and correct enunciation of the Hebrew text and for his dedication to his profession.

(I am grateful to the family of Rev. Morris for this biography)