The Official Leibele Waldman Blog

Welcome to the Official Leibele Waldman blog.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Waldman on 8-Track?

In the mid 1960's, the 8-Track format started showing up in the U.S. Market.  These tapes were superior to vinyl records for one reason - they were portable.  You can't play a record while driving around town, but you can play an 8-Track tape.

Soon these tape players were available in all new cars as an upgrade to the standard AM/FM Radio.  The sound quality is excellent and uses the same 1/4" magnetic tape which was popular in reel-to-reel players.  Since the cartridge relies on only one reel, it can play continuously without ever needing to be "turned over".

By the early 1980's, the 8-Track format had been largely replaced with smaller cassette tapes.  While one would not typically associate Chazzonus with this format, if you still have your 1978 Buick Electra with the in-dashboard player, you can enjoy the uplifting "Songs of My People" while cruising down the highway with the windows open.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Song Divine

with Abe Ellstein at the organ
Published by Maloh Records




Song Divine was one of many records published by Maloh Records featuring some of Leibele Waldman's most popular selections.

About the Cantor from the liner notes:

Great cantors are few and far between as the requisites are a combination of not only fine voice but the flexibility of the voice to ideal interpretation of prayers through musical fantasy adaptable thereto. It is this combination that has given Leibele Waldman the well deserved recognition and acclaim. His reputation and stature as a cantor, while known to connoisseurs for years, has steadily grown, and through his personal concert, screen, and radio performances and recordings he has become internationally famous. 

Born in New York City, he was reared in an orthodox environment. He studied at the Yeshiva and it was there that one of the Rabbi’s heard his unusual alto voice. It became apparent to his teachers that besides possessing this beautiful voice, the child indeed had great talent in cantorial singing unusual to one so young. With the sponsorship of his teachers and admirers he became a child protege, and at the age of nine he officiated at the pulpit with a choral background. Within years his voice matured into a rich, beautiful lyric baritone. Studies in voice culture, music, theory, and liturgy were resumed and at the age of eighteen he accepted his first position as a full fledged cantor in Cambridge, Mass. 

The heart-warming qualities of his interpretations and musical fantasies were received with admiration by the critics. Public appearances, while still a young man, with internationally famous cantors followed. He shared honors with such great cantors as Rosenblatt, Hershman and others. 

During the thirties when radio was seeking fine talent, this cantor was the first to make a nation-wide name for himself. His voice became known, and his program which lasted many years, became a tradition in millions of homes. His inspiring cantorial and folk singing established him in the hearts of his listeners and he became known as “The Sweet Singer In Israel”.

Concert appearances in leading cities have drawn tremendous audiences and by their acclaim established the cantor, without question, as a great artist. To the present day the cantor’s work is divided between Sabbath officiations in all parts of the world and concert work for various occasions. 

He appeared as a cantor in twelve Jewish motion pictures, including the famous “Kol Nidre”. Other performances at Madison Square Garden in New York for the “Night of Stars” and “Parade of Stars”, and other worthy benefits, have been high spots for the audiences. He has held positions considered to be the finest in the country, and the warmth of his performances and personality have endeared him to his audiences. Whether his audience is strictly orthodox, conservative, reformed or a combination of all three, it is agreed that his appeal is universal!

The program:

Uvo L’Tziyon Goel 
- A redeemer shall come to Zion and to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the Lord...

Tal
- Bless our sustenance with dew: let no ill befall our flocks: bestow Thy favor on the people whom Thou didst lead like a flock...

V’al Hamdinos (Atoh Zocher)
- On this day (Rosh Hashonoh) sentence is pronounced upon countries for war or peace, for famine or abundance. On this day, mortals are recorded for life or death...

R’tzei Vimnuchosenu
- Our G-d and G-d of our fathers, be pleased with our rest. Sanctify us with Thy commandments and grant us a share in Thy Torah...

V’chol Hachayim
- All the living shall ever thank Thee and sincerely praise Thy name, O G-d, who art always our salvation and help...

L’fichoch Anachnu Chayovim
- Therefore, it is our duty to give thanks to Thee, to praise and glorify Thee, to bless and hallow Thy name, and to offer many thanksgivings to Thee...

Al Horishonim
- Alike for the first and the last generations this faith is good and valid forever and ever; it is true and trustworthy; a law that will not pass away...

To listen to a recording of any of the above selections, please visit the Recorded Sound Archives of FAU. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Cantor Harvey Waldman (1936 – 2018)


It is with much regret that I report that Cantor Harvey Waldman passed away on December 23, 2018.  Cantor Waldman was born on April 12, 1936 to parents Leibele and Molly Waldman.  He grew up in Flatbush with his two brothers, Siebert – his twin, who became an accomplished musician and Morton, the youngest, who became a rabbi.

Despite growing up in a house with a two-tier Hammond organ, a library of classical music, symphonic music, and of course hazzanut, which constantly played over the radio, according to Harvey, he hadn’t really understood what the “fuss” was regarding hazzanut until he was almost 20 years old.  He had musical talent and played woodwind instruments, and went on to attend and graduate from Columbia University and The Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary.  A career on Wall Street then followed.  As a new Hazzan, his first position was in Richmond Hill, Queens where he led services during Shabbat and High Holidays.  During the week he continued his work on Wall Street.

Harvey married Debby in 1972 and they had two children, Genna and Ari.  In 1974, he became the full-time Hazzan at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun on Staten Island.

 Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Staten Island


Harvey was Hazzan at B’nai Jeshurun for about 9 years and later accepted a position as the full time Hazzan at the East Brunswick Jewish Center in New Jersey, in September, 1982.  He and Debby then moved to East Brunswick where they raised their family.

At EBJC, Harvey led weekly services, High Holiday services, and was responsible for a weekly Bar / Bat Mitzvah class.  At EBJC, a Bar / Bat Mitzvah was required to lead the entire service as well as prepare a Haftorah.  Harvey taught hundreds of students the Friday Evening Service, Saturday morning Torah and Musaf Services, and Saturday Evening Service.  In addition, Harvey led a High Holiday Choir and was responsible for the weekly Junior Congregation Service that attracted students enrolled in the Hebrew School.

He was well versed in chord structure, music modes, and proper nusach, all of which he was able to demonstrate and teach using the piano.

Harvey retired from being a full-time Hazzan in the early 2000’s and continued to travel around the country officiating at High Holidays Services and weddings, many of which were those of his former students, which brought him great joy.



 Waldman under the Chuppah


As an advocate of traditional hazzanut, Harvey maintained a large repertoire of melodies and compositions, both recordings and in music form.  He spent years digitizing and re-mastering the recordings of his father, with the help of Mordechai Sobol.


Harvey Waldman (at right) with Ofir Sobol and Maestro Mordechai Sobol (Sobol, a friend of Cantor Waldman’s passed away on September 15, 2018)

In 2001, Mordechai Sobol produced a series of concerts memorializing Leibele Waldman which Harvey attended in Tel Aviv and R’nanah.  Soon after was the publication of the Leibele Waldman four (4) disc anthology.  Harvey began a blog in 2011 and enjoyed reading and responding to e-mails from all around the world.


Harvey Waldman taping an episode of “Two Hours of Jewish Soul Music” with Charlie Bernhaut on February 27, 2011.  The show can be accessed at http://www.charliebernhaut.com/archive/archive5.html (go to Show #92).

Harvey’s last project was to painstakingly re-master Leibele Waldman’s live recordings from the Chicago Loop Synagogue High Holiday Services from 1967.  The final result was an 8-disc set of recordings including S’lichot, Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur Services.

Cover art of disc 1 of 8 of the Live High Holiday Davening at Chicago Loop Synagogue

While passionate throughout his adult life about keeping his father’s music alive, Harvey’s greatest joy was to watch his children and grandchildren grow, and to be present for their many accomplishments – daughter Genna became a doctor and son Ari a law professor.

May his memory be for a blessing.