Cantor William Sharlin

Musical Revolutionary of Reform Judaism

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About the Book

William Sharlin (1920–2012) was a cantor, synagogue composer, teacher and musicologist. Raised in an Orthodox household, he turned toward Universalism and the liberal Reform movement. A member of the first graduating class of the first cantorial school in America, he was a founding member of the American Conference of Cantors and is recognized as the first to play a guitar in the synagogue. Sharlin developed the Department of Sacred Music at HUC in Los Angeles, where he taught for 40 years, trained women to be cantors before they were allowed in the seminary, and spent nearly four decades at Leo Baeck Temple.
Drawing on interviews conducted with Sharlin late in life, the author chronicles the career of one of the most inventive and creative figures in the history of the cantorate.

About the Author(s)

Jonathan L. Friedmann is a professor of Jewish music history at the Academy for Jewish Religion California, extraordinary professor of theology at North-West University (NWU), South Africa, and a research fellow at NWU in musical arts in South Africa: resources and applications. He is the author, editor, or compiler of 19 books on music and religion. Visit his website at

Bibliographic Details

Jonathan L. Friedmann
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 192
Bibliographic Info: 10 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7706-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3558-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 5
1. Beginnings 9
2. School of Sacred Music, New York 21
3. Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati 35
4. Leo Baeck Temple, Los Angeles 53
5. Department of Sacred Music, Los Angeles 92
6. Saratoga, California 121
Epilogue 134
Appendix: The Writings of Cantor William Sharlin—An Annotated Bibliography 143
Chapter Notes 155
Bibliography 173
Index 181