Cantor Nathan Mendelson

When Leonard Cohen first heard the Synagogue choral music which inspired him, it was close to eighty years ago. The Synagogue was Congregation  Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount, the Cantor was Nathan Mendelson, and the choir sang weekly.

The music which Nathan Mendelson composed and/or sang regularly at the weekly Sabbath services was the musical heart and soul of the Congregation for close to four decades. It was the music of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, as well as that of those of us in our senior years including the late Leonard Cohen who certainly derived much spiritual nourishment from it. So much so that when Leonard recorded his latest CD, You Want it Darker, he sought out the current Cantor, Gideon Zelermyer, and choir of the Synagogue to provide the chorus and background vocals for two of the nine songs on the disc.

This Jewish New year, Rosh Hashanah, will be the 40th anniversary (yahrzeit) of the passing of Cantor  Mendelson  who was cantor of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim from Passover of 1938 until his retirement in 1973. He was cantor Emeritus from 1973 until his untimely passing in 1977. The Cantor Nathan Mendelson Music Foundation of the Shaar has proposed sponsoring a special Sabbath on Oct. 21, 2017, celebrating the musical tradition of Nathan Mendelson. The entire community is invited to attend services at the Shaar on that Sabbath. Cantor Gideon Zelermyer and Shaar choir conducted by Roi Azoulay, will sing many of the compositions Cantor Mendelson either wrote or sang during his 35 year tenure.

The special service will take place on Saturday, October 21, 8:45 am to 12 Noon at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, Main Sanctuary; at 120 Cote St. Antoine Road, Westmount. For further information, please call 514-482-4019

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