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Martin Adolf And The Cantor Racket

Time Magazine, Monday, Jun. 25, 1934

Religion: Cantor Racket

A Jewish congregation wishes a cantor (chazzan) to sing hymns and prayers in the synagog. The rabbi finds a likely prospect, persuades him to try out by singing for nothing during Saturday service. Afterwards the crafty rabbi sends the cantor away as unsatisfactory. The next Saturday the rabbi offers another cantor an audition, sends him away, too, to be followed by another and another, so long as gullible cantors can be found for free Saturday singing tests.

This racket was described last week at a conference in Manhattan of the Jewish Ministers' Cantors' Association. A resolution was passed to boycott guilty synagogs. Cantor Martin Adolf of Paterson, N. J., chairman of the conference, declared that cantors are Forgotten Men. Said he: "The cantor, who by the grace of God is an artist, has always been considered as the pillar of fire in the synagog. He has the ability with the rays of his voice to create light and joy when Israel is left in darkness. . . . When the whole world was engaged in speculation to gain more wealth, the cantor was content with the necessaries of life. When the whole country made a concerted drive to organize labor and make possible a living wage, the cantor still was reluctant to move. The results are despair, despondency and destruction."


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