May 18 , 2020/Category

Our beloved Cantor Emeritus Ephraim Biran passed away on Saturday, May 16. He served as Cantor of Rodeph Sholom from 1963 until his retirement in 1994. His beautiful voice, potent and memorable, enriched our Shabbat, High Holy Day, and Festival Services.

Under Cantor Biran’s direction, he created the Rodeph Sholom Children’s Choir in 1974 comprised of children from the Rodeph Sholom School and the Religious School. They sing throughout the year at Shir Chadash services, at High Holy Days, and at the annual Festival of Choirs concerts during Chanukah festivities.

Cantor Biran trained countless B’nai Mitzvah children. In addition, he furthered the cause of contemporary music for our congregation, programming interesting and relevant commissions and performances.

The whole congregation joyously celebrated his milestone birthdays with his wife Paula at Erev Shabbat services: his 80th on December 9, 2005, his 85th on December 10, 2010, and his 90th on December 4, 2015. A lavish oneg followed each service with loving congregants lined up to wish him mazel tov.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1925, he studied voice in Israel and Italy and sang with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Receiving the grant from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation to study voice abroad was the catalyst that led him to his lifelong cantorial career.

He was married to Paula for 58 years, the father of Jonathan and wife Sarah, Raphael, and Alisa and husband Jeremy, and the proud grandfather of Lizzie, Lena, Shira, and Ari.

Nes gadol haya sham—A great miracle happened there. Cantor Biran’s baritone voice boomed loudest at Chanukah. He found immense joy in lighting the Chanukiah for his congregation. There was a great miracle that happened here, too. Cantor Biran’s memory will live here forever.

Please join us on May 30 for a Chamber Music concert dedicated to Cantor Biran’s memory.