Chassidishe Chazan Celebrates His Birthday With Song

Watch: Descendants of Rabbi Berel Zaltzman gathered for a party marking his birthday. They celebrated by singing some of his classics.

By reporter

Four generations of the Zaltzman family gathered for a party celebrating the birthday of their patriarch Rabbi Berel Zaltzman.

Reb Berel, who was born and raised in the former Soviet Union, was very active in the religious underground network, even hosting a Yeshiva in his home for a number of years. He emigrated from Russia to Eretz Yisroel with his wife and 6 children in 1971. In 1980 he moved to America to inspire the Jewish Russian community in Los Angeles and later in Fairlawn, New Jersey. 

When he first arrived from the Soviet Union, the Rebbe asked him to sing numerous times during his distribution of wine. After having his first yechidus, Rabbi Zaltzman finally understood the Rebbe’s intention. He had been too busy adjusting to his new life in Israel and struggling to make a living to realize that the Rebbe had already given him the key to his future success as a famous cantor.

Over the coming years, he gained renown as a chazan, singing at venues around the world. The Rebbe also urged him to release records, and even participated with considerable sums in the publishing costs. He served, and continues to serve, as a living example of the mesiras nefesh chassidim had in Soviet Russia, and of a genuine chassidishe chazan.

After the official party program, family members sat down with Reb Berel to sing and enjoy some of his classics, and other nostalgic pieces of chazanus.


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