Razumni, Ephraim Zalman

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RAZUMNI, EPHRAIM ZALMAN (Solomon ; 1866–1904), ḥazzan and composer. Born in Nikolayev, Russia, Razumni became ḥazzan there at the age of nineteen. After serving in Kishinev, he moved to Odessa where he spent the rest of his life. An unpredictable character, Razumni was a lyric tenor with an unusually fine faculty for improvisation. He officiated as guest cantor in many communities and gave concerts throughout Eastern Europe, gaining a huge popular following and becoming a legend in his own lifetime. His rendition of *El Male Raḥamim after the *Kishinev pogrom became the standard musical version of the prayer in the East European Ashkenazi area and its sphere of influence. A collection of his recitatives, Shirei Razumni, was published by S. *Alman in 1930.


Y. Icht, in: Khazonim Velt (March, 1934), 11–12, 23; H.H. Harris, Toledot ha-Neginah ve-ha-Ḥazzanut be-Yisrael (1950), 448–9.

[David M.L. Olivestone]