A renowned writer of Hasidic prayer melodies and leading singer and composer of the Modzitzer Hasidim movement, Rabbi Shenker influenced an entire generation of Jewish religious music. Highlighting Rabbi Shenker’s multiple contributions to music as well as his role as a family man and conservator of Jewish culture, the presentation was part of an Exploring Jewish Music program at Ring House, Landow House and Cohen-Rosen House that has explored the personal connection between its residents and the intersection of music and spirituality. It was also a celebration of Rabbi Shenker’s life.
Born on May 12, 1925 in Brooklyn, New York to Hasidic parents who had emigrated from Poland, Rabbi Shenker was brought up in a household that had a strong appreciation for music, which included the Rabbi joining a choir conducted by noted cantor Joshua Samuel Weisser by age 12.
“My brother was always interested in music,” Rose shared. “I remember how my mother would set him down by the Victrola and he’d sit there for hours listening.”
The Rabbi had a very prolific career; over 500 of his compositions subsequently became a staple of Jewish religious observances. For Rose and Sol Glasner, however, Rabbi Shenker’s role was much more than just a musical presence. “He was my family,” Rose says. “We use to sit Friday night at the table for hours. We sang all night long.”