To The Editor:
Kurt List’s splendid article “Jewish Music on Records” in the September issue is a valuable guide for rabbis who are interested in this subject.
I was especially gratified at Mr. List’s favorable reaction to the Jonah Binder album, “Sabbath Prayers,” because I was present when the records were made.
These records were cut at the United States Naval Training Station at Sampson, New York in 1944. Jonah Binder was then a blue-jacket and his choir was made up of fifty young Jewish seamen. We had a complete turnover of choir personnel every eight weeks, as the men finished training and moved out to sea, but Jonah Binder stayed on. I was chaplain and he was my cantor and assistant, with a rating of Seaman 2z/C, and later Specialist (W) /C. The choir was trained by Binder and sang twice every Friday night during two big services.
The day we received permission from the Navy Public Relations Department to make records, Binder rehearsed the choir hard for several hours, so when we went into the recording booth he was almost exhausted, and I can detect the weariness in his singing. Binder has a magnificent voice and deserves recognition for his inspiring contribution during the late war.
Rabbi Henry J. Berkowitz
Congregation Beth Israel