Blindman, Yeruḥam

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BLINDMAN, YERUḤAM (c. 1798–1891), cantor and composer. Blindman, who was called "Yeruḥam ha-Koton" ("little") because of his small stature, served as cantor in Kishinev, Tarnopol, and Berdichev. Though not universally admired, his voice was a remarkable lyric tenor with unlimited falsetto range. The public was attracted by his pious appearance in long, white beard and his great artistry in improvisation. His formal knowledge of music was rudimentary, but his own melodies, composed in the spirit of Jewish folksong against a liturgical background, earned him a reputation as a composer of synagogal music. His singing with choir consistently attracted large crowds, including gentiles. He performed with his choir throughout Russia and Austria.


H.H. Harris, Toledot ha-Neginah ve-ha-Ḥazzanut be-Yisrael (1950), 404–5; Idelsohn, Music, 302–3; A. Rosen (ed.), Di Geshikhte fun Khazones (1924), 97.

[Joshua Leib Ne'eman]