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Music Archives

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arranged and described by ELIOTT KAHN, D.M.A.,
February 2004

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Holograph score. Das ist der Tag der Ruh (This is the Day of Rest) / music: William Noelsch. Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Philadelphia, Pa., ca. 1895. (M2186.N63S901 v.2)


The music scores found within the papers of Rabbi Max D. Klein represent a sampling of the music used in an American Conservative synagogue from the late-nineteenth until the mid-twentieth century. Max D. Klein was rabbi at Philadelphia's Congregation Adath Jeshurun from 1911-1960. During this time period he was assisted by such notable cantors as Jacob Beimel (1920-1929) and W. Belskin Ginsburg (1935-1960). He also worked with organist William Noelsch, an important musical figure who played at Adath Jeshurun from 1881 until 1919.

The music collection is unique for a variety of reasons. First of all, it contains several of Beimel's and Noelsch's manuscript scores. Jacob Beimel began his career as a cantor in the Ukraine, went on to receive conservatory training in Berlin, and then — along with A.W. Binder — became one of the founders of the Jewish music movement in twentieth-century America. William Noelsch appears to have been active as a composer and church/synagogue organist in late-nineteenth century Philadelphia. Some of his Catholic and Jewish liturgical music was published during this time by Philadelphia's J.E. Ditson & Co.

Several of Noelsch's manuscripts are bound into horizontal organ books that he probably used to play for services. These contain hymns in English, Hebrew and German, ca. 1895-1915. Adath Jeshurun was early on a German émigré congregation and the German language was not officially abolished in the service until 1896. There is also a book of cantor's solos (mostly in Hebrew) in Noelsch's hand. Beimel's manuscripts include several of his arrangements — presumably unpublished — of hymns unique to Adath Jeshurun. There are also many of his settings of traditional prayers, including Zochrenu, which was published in the Jewish Reform movement's 1932 Union Hymnal.

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Title page and Holograph score. En komocho / music: Aron Friedmann, Berlin, 1927. (M2187.F72E5 1927)

The published music also provides a window into the musical practices of a turn of the century American congregation. There are two editions of the Kol Nidre prayer, one in Hebrew by C.G. Verrinder (London: Novello, 1891) and one in English — Day of God — by Alois Kaiser (New York: Bloch, ca. 1893). There are solo anthems in English by Dudley Buck (Fear Not Ye, O Israel, New York: Schirmer, 1889) and Max Spicker (In Thee, O God, Do I Put My Trust, New York: Schirmer, 1899), as well as a choral arrangement by William Noelsch in English and Hebrew of F. Halevy's Min hammezar (Philadelphia: J.E. Ditson, 1895). In addition there are pieces imported from central Europe, including a Zionist song by Vienna's Obercantor Emanuel Fränkl (A heym, A heym, Wien: Josef Belf, ca. 1900) and Tempelweihe Marsch by A. Weiler, for the consecration of a synagogue (Nördlingen[?]: Th. Reischle, ca. 1900). Though unpublished, there is a also a holograph score of an En kamokha setting by Berlin's Obercantor Aron Friedmann, dedicated to Rabbi Max D. Klein in 1927.

Note: All the music scores may be accessed through the JTS Library Catalog (Search under "Klein, Max D., or author or title)

Note: biographical information comes from the following source:

Shore, Marvin and Charlotte Viner Bernstein, editors: Dedication Book: Congregation Adath Jeshurun, 1858-1967, 6518-5727. Elkins Park, Pa.: Congregation Adath Jeshurun, 1967.



Max D. Klein Papers

Jacob Beimel Collection


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