Shlome Pinkasovitch – Forgotten Chazan?

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cantor pinkasovitch in johannesburg edited

Maoz Tzur

I received an interesting email from S. Leifer in Brooklyn NY:

My favourite cantor is long forgotten Shlome Pinkasovitch (Pincasovich, Pincasovicz, Pinkasovich).

Shlome was the cantor at the WOLMARANS STREET SYNAGOGUE in 1930, returning in 1941 as cantor of the BETH HAMEDRASH HAGODEL, succeeding the famous Cantor Berele Chagy.

In 1946 he retired to London, England and served as a lecturer and Dean of the School of Music at Jews College, until his death on 10 December 1951  (י”א כסלו שנת תשי”ב)

He recorded more that 300 recordings between 1912-1933 on the Gramaphone, Polydor, Odeon and Homochord (Homokord) labels.

I have a large collection of his recordings, and I have his bio (he writes at length about his life in South Africa).

His name sadly vanished from the cantorial arena.

Lately, chazonim and balei tefila are becoming aware of his music and nusach, thanks to groups of chazonim and researchers, who have been spreading the word and sharing some recordings.

We plan on publishing a double cd of his recordings with a booklet containing a well documented bio based on his writings and newspapers cuttings etc.

We have received considerable support from Manchester kehiloth (where he was the cantor in the late 1920s and 30s.

We are still looking for some documentation and photos from his time in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

I was delighted to see your website, that you are actually reviving the history, so I am reaching out to you for you help, if you have anything about him.

Can you help?


cantor pinkasovitch newspaper photo 1941 the zionist newspaper

cantor shlomo pinkasovitch polydor h75068 ben zoma omar  cantor shlomo pinkasovitch polydor h70059 al chet



Al chet = Polydor H70058

Aneinu = Polydor H70204 (year 1930)

Ben zomo – Polydor H75068 (year 1932)

Retzei = gramophone H70014-5 (circa 1924)

Ein kitzvo = gramophone H70002 (circa 1922)

Geshem = gramophone H70044-5 (mid 1920s)

Haneiros = polydor H75018 (mid 1920s)

My friend, Geraldine Auerbach MBE, alerted me to Geoffrey Shisler’s fabulous website:

Geoffrey Shisler is a most interesting man and a visit to his site is a must!

Follow his blog!

Like Pinkasovitch, Geoffrey also taught at Jews’ College.

This is what he has on Pinkasovitch:

I found this LP amongst over 120 chazonis vinyls my dad, Cantor Harry Rabinowitz, left behind.


Ochiloh Loeil


Born Ukrainian Russia 1886. Graduated from the Odessa Conservatoire 1904. Made hundreds of recordings, mainly for Homokord and ‘DGG’. Voice of exceptionally wide range, from lyric tenor to basso profound. Died London, 1951.

This now appears on the Johannesburg KehilaLink at:



4 Replies to “Shlome Pinkasovitch – Forgotten Chazan?”

    1. Cantor Shlomo Pinkasovitch was born on Feb. 12, 1886 the Town of Dzygovka (Podolia -Ukraine). His father Rabbi Todros was a wandering teacher descending from a famous Chasidic Dynasty family Rabbi Pinchos of Koritz

  1. Many thanks for posting this. It has set me off on an interesting e-journey that I’ll return to when I have some spare time.

    I once —many years ago— read something in the Birmingham Jewish community magazine about Chazzan Pinkasovitch in which the writer spoke of him with great admiration: this is just a vague memory but, at the time, it set me off on a search for something by him and I turned up one track on a CD of “Great Cantors 1903 – 1930” and also a fairly lengthy biographical note by his daughter.

    I suspect that your correspondent will have all of this material and much much more, but thank you for drawing my attention to this.

  2. He was my grandfather’s teacher in jews collage. Chazan morris katanka. I am studying chazanut under naftali herstik. And have a great love for pinkasovitch.

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