Mordekhai Hershman


Mordekhai Hershman was born in Chernigov and from an early age was an active participant in several synagogue choirs. His first post was as a hazzan in Zhitomir, but he stayed there only a few months before he was offered a position as hazzan of Vilna. During World War I, Hershman was drafted into the Russian army, but it is said that his officer was so impressed by his tenor voice that he released him from duty so that he could return to his community in Vilna. After the war, Hershman toured extensively throughout Russia and Europe, performing at synagogues and as a soloist with local orchestras. In 1920, he emigrated to the United States where he took a position as chief hazzan at the Beth El Temple in Brooklyn, New York. During his time at Beth El Temple, he continued to tour throughout America, Europe and Palestine. As was customary of noted hazzanim of the time, Hershman released several records of cantorial and Jewish folk music.