Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Who's the New Chazzan?

Naftali Hershtik left his post post as the Chief Chazzan of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue two weeks ago and the rumor season has begun regarding who will be taking his place. Hershitk was there for 30+ years, with striking success, and I will for sure miss him (the BEST falsetto) but now is the time for a new face and no one knows who will be the chosen one. The Gabbaim have announced that in the next two months there will be numerous guest Chazzanim - maybe some sort of trials, I don't know. This blog is not really focused in Chazzanut, but Chazzanut is becoming a genre of interest for so many JM fans, including me, and I decided to put together a list of possibilties.

Chazzan Adler
Chances: [Very High] UPDATE: High
Why: Adler, the Chief Chazzan of the Tel Aviv Great Synagogue, comes very often to daven in the Jerusalem Great Synagogue and the public loves him. He is an easy-going guy, charismatic and different - he's a Ger Chassid, although he davens in Baruch. He has a great voice, power and range. You can hear one of his many youtube videos here.

Chazzan Motzen
Chances: [High] UPDATE: Very High
Why: Motzen is considered the best Chazzan today and although he currently lives in Bal Harbor, FL, he is Israeli and I guess he wouldn't mind to come back for such a chashuv post. He comes to the Great Synagogue at least twice a year as a guest Chazzan and the house is always absolutely packed - he was the guest Chazzan just last Shabbos. Motzen composed many Chazzanut pieces, like his famous Av Harachamim, and he is simply the most complete Chazzan out there. It would be amazing to have him as the Chief Chazzan!

Chazzan Schwartz
Chances: Medium
Why: Azi Schwartz is a former member of the Great Synagogue choir and he is an insider. Despite his relatively young age he has been around and held the post of second Chazzan of the Park East Synagogue, NY, for quite some time. The first Chazzan of Park East, as you probably know, is none other than Helfgott, so Azi is well-rated. Azi moved back to Israel just a few months ago and is "available", so if the board decides to bet in a rising star, Azi will be the guy. He has lots of potential, charisma and already is a great Chazzan. Additionally, he would probably maintain the Shul's nusach, which is always a plus.

Chazzan Helfgott
Chances: Very Low
Why: Helfgott never actually davened in front of the Great Synagogue's amud so I think is quite impossible for him to be the chosen one.


Joel said...

Do you have any inside information or are these just educated guesses on your part.
Perhaps since you live in Israel you could approach some board members and gain some insight to the situation.
Do you know why Herstik left? Did it have anything to do with the scandal last year?

YK said...

hey joel
I know a few of the board members and those are the names (besides helfgott) that were mentioned to me, but I obviously don't know who is the chosen one.
Hershtik left not because of the messup per se, it was more because of a personalities clash that happened as a consequence of the scandal.
But not because of the scandal - he was the victim, not the villain.
We will miss Hershitk a lot - he is a really great Chazzan but most importantly, a great person.


YK said...

i updated the probabilites of motzen and adler.
but i still think it's hard to believe motzen would come. would be amazing


Anonymous said...

Motzen still lives in Toronto..

YK said...

partly true
he lives in both canada and bal harbour, FL.