The cleric whom I called “My Hazz”, Cantor Sherwood Goffen, has passed away.
More than forty years ago, it was my honor to pray at the Lincoln Square Synagogue while I lived in New York, where Hazzan Goffen’s sweet voice inspired a generation.
I had first seen the Hazz on an American folk song TV program known as Hootenany in the early 1960’s.
Hazz was best known as the voice that inspired the small fledgeing Soviet Jewry movement.
His followers smuggled his songs into the former USSR.
His songs gave hope to a generation of Jews who would not give up hope that they would beat the kremlin and wind up in Israel.
With more than a million former Soviet Jews now in Israel, sit back wherever you are during the funeral of this wonderful man and listen to melodies from the Hazz which must have been sung in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
A personal note: I so much wanted to lead prayers and to learn from the Hazz how to do so.
So I hired the Hazz to give me ten lessons.
And I am pleased that my parents and our oldest children knew the Hazz.
A blessing in our time.