Audio: Hazzan Joshua Dlin sings "Sheva B’rachot," (Seven Blessings). In modern Jewish wedding ceremonies the seven blessings are often recited for the bride and groom under the huppah (wedding canopy). The blessings praise God who created the fruit of the vine, the glory of the universe, human beings, and the capacity for love. They also include poetic blessings for Jerusalem (analogized as a barren woman who might gather in “her” children and repopulate the ancient city) and a wish that the bride and groom might experience joy in their marriage comparable to the utopia of the Garden of Eden. Composed by Hazzan Nathan Mendelson. Accompanied by Professor Jacob Rosemarin.
Hazzan Joshua Dlin, born in Bessarabia (present-day Moldova), was recognized as a child prodigy at age seven. Dlin attended the Kishinev Conservatory of Music and the Warsaw Academy of Music. He studied voice with several respected teachers including Russian opera singer Professor Gorsky and Professor Lelivia Warsaw. From 1924 to 1926, he was hazzan at the Acre Synagogue in Kishinev, and from 1926, he was hazzan of the Sinai Synagogue in Warsaw. In 1939 he was appointed hazzan of the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv.
Dlin moved to Montreal and succeeded Ephraim Schlepack as Chief Cantor at Beth David Congregation on St. Joseph in 1948. He composed music for liturgy including the Sabbath prayer “V’shomru” that could be sung by synagogue choirs together with soloists and the hazzan. The style of hazzanut under Schlepack and Dlin at Beth David (the Rumanishe, or Romanian, shul) was considered more exotic than the Litvak (Lithuanian/Russian) style of the B’nai Jacob synagogue on Fairmount, but equally loved.
Dlin remained cantor at Beth David until 1970, after the synagogue’s 1965 merger with Tifereth Jerusalem (becoming the “TBDJ” synagogue) and move to Côte Saint-Luc. He passed away in 1990.
Compiled by Stephanie Tara Schwartz, Zev Moses and Arie Subar
40 Years of Hazzanut in Montreal 1957-1997. Council of Hazzanim of Greater Montreal. Israel Music, 1997.CD.
Appel, Rabbi Julia, e-mail, October 10, 2012.
Nadler, Rabbi Dr. Allan. “Rabbi Dr Allan on Montreal Shuls and Cantors of Yesteryear”. YouTube. June 26, 2011.
Subar, Cantor Arie Leib, ed. Hazzanut in Montreal. Montreal: Council of Hazzanim of Greater Montreal, 1971.
*Images courtesy of Cantor Arie Subar.