Chazzan Abraham Lopes Cardozo z”l died February 21 at around 3am. He had been hospitalized for several days with breathing difficulties. Abraham Lopes Cardozo was born in Amsterdam, Holland on September 27, 1914. He was the great-grandson of the Chief Rabbi in Amsterdam and the son of the choir director of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue there. He came to his American post in 1946 and served Congregation Shearith Israel in New York for over 40 years. Cardozo’s recordings from 1959 were recently rereleased in time for the celebration of the 350th anniversary of Jews in America, and reviewed by this website: http://www.jmwc.org/NewCDReviews/shearithisraelcds.html
He was a made a Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau by Queen Beatrix of Holland on June 7, 2000.
Two years ago the Chazzan celebrated his 90th birthday in Amsterdam. A special tribute program was shown on Dutch television.
“Abraham Lopes Cardozo was born in Amsterdam, Holland on September 27, 1914. As the great-grandson of the Chief Rabbi of the Sephardim in Amsterdam (who preached the last sermon in Portuguese, and who was later decorated by the King of Holland), and as the son of Joseph Lopes Cardozo, leader of the boy’s choir of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, it was fitting that he read his first Haftorah at the age of seven in that same synagogue. He attended Seminary Ets Haim in Amsterdam , and became active in Hagomel, a congregational youth society. In 1939 he was appointed by Queen Wilhemina to be rabbi of the Sephardic congregation in Paramaribo, capital of Surinam. On vacation in New York in 1945 he visited Congregation Shearith Israel in NYC and he liked it. It was mutual, for he was invited by the Congregation to become the Assistant Hazzan there in 1946, a position he held for forty years. In 1987, he released a book and accompanying cassette tapes entitled: Sephardic Songs of Praise. On June 7, 2000, he was knighted by Queen Beatrix of Holland. “