Rabbi Israel Goldfarb, who was also a cantor, was born in Sieniawa, Galicia (now Poland), and immigrated to the United States in 1893. He graduated from Columbia University and attended the Institute of Musical Art (now The Juilliard School) as well as the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he later served on the faculty for more than twenty years as an instructor in biblical cantillation and basic prayer chants for rabbinical students. He was also the rabbi of an active traditional synagogue in Brooklyn for fifty-one years. But Goldfarb is best remembered today for his many contributions to synagogue music, especially with regard to compiling as well as creating congregational melodies and harmonized responses for the liturgy. He was one of the first in America outside specifically Reform circles to publish such songsters for the synagogue as well as for school and home use. Some of these were done in the 1920s in collaboration with his brother, Samuel Eliezar Goldfarb, a liturgical composer and Jewish music educator in his own right.

By: Neil W. Levin



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