Reb Ben Zion Shenker Z’L

It is sad news to report the passing today, November 20, 2016, of Reb Ben Zion Shenker z”l. Reb Shenker was renowned as the composer of over a thousand songs in the chassidic tradition, at least 400 in the Modzitzer style. Shenker was born in Brooklyn in 1925. As a child, he participated in the synagogue choir led by cantor Joshua Samuel Weisser [Pilderwasser], then a leading cantor in country. In the late 1930s, Weisser aided his appearance on radio and helped set the stage for Shenker to study composition and music theory. While his parents were from nearby Lubin, Shenker became known for helping preserve the Modzitzer musical tradition of chassidic song after meeting the Modzitzer rebbe (Rabbi Saul Taub) in NY in 1940. He started transcribing many of the melodies sung by the rebbe and others in that community becoming essentially “musical secretary” for the dynasty.  For many years, he also served as a baal tefila of the local Modzitzer shul in NY. While he made his living in the garment business, he began to also composer melodies in the Modzitzer tradition. Many of his most famous pieces are captured on a Milken CD. There is also an interview with him here:

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Other links of interest:…/BenZionShenker3july2012YiddishBookCen…