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Brooklyn, NY - Boruch Dayan Emes: Chazan Dovid Werdyger

Published on: April 2, 2014 09:44 AM
Last updated on: April 2, 2014 10:04 AM
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FILE photo by Baruch EzaguiFILE photo by Baruch Ezagui

Brooklyn, NY - Dovid Werdyger, a Jewish music icon who considered to be the pioneer of Jewish music as we know it today was niftar this morning at age 94.

Born in Poland in 1919, Werdyger was a Holocaust survivor who was in several concentration camps during the war and worked in the factory run by Oskar Schindler.  Werdyger, who moved to Brooklyn after the war and founded Werdyger Travel, threw himself into preserving Chasidic music, recording over 50 albums of the music of various chasidic dynasties.

A legendary chazan and singer and the founder of the Aderet music label, Werdyger was the scion of one of today’s most prolific music families and was the father of superstar Mordechai ben David and grandfather of singers Yeedle and Yisroel Werdyger.

Yisroel Werdyger recalls his grandfather, a Gerrer chasid, as a role model par excellence.

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“My grandfather’s devotion to yiddishkeit always challenged us to emulate his ways,” Yisroel Werdyger told VIN News.  “Knowing his history and what he went through during the Holocaust and seeing him live a Torah’dig life was an inspiration.”

Yisroel Werdyger recalled his grandfather as a man who always put his principles and his family first.

“In his early years he declined very prestigious chazanus positions in out of town areas, despite the huge financial benefit, because of the chinuch of his children.  He was also among the first to challenge secular music with chasidic music from many courts.”

Producer Sheya Mendlowitz described Werdyger as an inspiration on many levels.

“After the Nazis took everything, he came to America with nothing and built a beautiful, royal family with a rich musical heritage,” said Mendlowitz. “He made sure to set up each of his four sons in the music business and in the travel business and he started it all with zero.”

Werdyger’s strong Chasidic ties were a crucial part of his music, according to Mendlowitz.

“He was close with the various rebbes and he represented the many different Chasidic dynasties in his records.  He was a legend in Jewish Chasidic music.”

The levaya will take place today at 1 PM at Shomrei Hadas Chapels at 14th Avenue and 39th Streets in Borough Park. 

The family will be sitting shiva at the home of Yisroel Werdyger at 1447 48th Street.


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Read Comments (17)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 02, 2014 at 10:03 AM Conscience Says:

A great man a legend
יהא זכרו לברכה

2

 Apr 02, 2014 at 10:18 AM alterknaker Says:

This is the end of real chassidish music singers in our generation, חבל על דאבדין

3

 Apr 02, 2014 at 10:20 AM Miriam377 Says:

"Songs Of Hope"
Uveshirei Dovid

4

 Apr 02, 2014 at 10:30 AM lazerx Says:

BDE, he will be remembered in the hearts of many for his stirring chasidishe songs.

5

 Apr 02, 2014 at 10:36 AM TexasJew Says:

Remember him from the old days.
BD"H

6

 Apr 02, 2014 at 11:15 AM Right613 Says:

a legend

7

 Apr 02, 2014 at 11:41 AM ChareidiMan Says:

Truly an end of an era! He was an amazing human being, very special heart, a true "Varime Yid fin derheim" He has albums of gerer songs, Skulener songs, Satmar songs, that is the kind of man he was :(

8

 Apr 02, 2014 at 12:05 PM mossad Says:

I had the priviledge spending time with him and family in the old Merkaz hotel in Jerusalem for Succot. He wasn't the best Chazan but he had a Geshmak, and Lebedig that will always be remembered.

BD"E

9

 Apr 02, 2014 at 12:19 PM Freinds From East Flatbush Says:

I Remember The WEerdiger Mishpocha when They lived on East 98th st With Goldsrein, Lasker, Deitch Chitrik,Gross They Davened in the Gerer Shtibal on Schenctidy Ave & Montgomery st;

10

 Apr 02, 2014 at 01:36 PM Anonymous Says:

A wonderful chazan and true loss for the tzibur but please don't suggest he is the "last of the great Chassideshe chazanim". Quite to the contrary. Chazan Werdyger would be the first to tell you that there are many truly great young Chassideshe chazanim today with better voices and equal mastery of chazanus.

11

 Apr 02, 2014 at 01:57 PM newtransplant Says:

Boruch Dayan Hoemes. His niggunim were wonderful and heimish, they filled me with love of yiddishkait the old way. He may have gone physically from the world but his music and his warmth live on.

12

 Apr 02, 2014 at 03:01 PM Benjey Says:

BDE lets not forget Cantor Herzil Pineles who was nifter yesterday from Brighton Beach

13

 Apr 02, 2014 at 03:03 PM Leibidik Says:

a fine varme Lebidike yid he will be missed

14

 Apr 02, 2014 at 04:16 PM posaikacharon Says:

what a loss for the world of jewish music! his songs and singing was with so much heart and feeling. may today's young jazzy singers take a lesson from this TRUE baal mnagein and chazzan what singing to hashem is all about.

15

 Apr 02, 2014 at 07:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Truely a role model that showed you can work and be a Talmud chacham as well.

16

 Apr 02, 2014 at 08:06 PM A Great Chazzan Says:

Boroch Dayan Haemet. I personally knew Chazzan David Werdyger, as he was the Chazzan of the Talmud Torah of Flatbush, from 1967-1973. He had a magnificent voice; at one Israel Bond breakfast, which was held at the Talmud Torah, he sang "Bonay Yerushalayim". I still have that recording, as well as other records of his. On the cover of one of the record albums of Chazzan Werdyger, it describes that while he and other inmates were about to be shot, his moving rendition of the "Kel Moleh Rachamim", moved a hard bitten S.S. officer to let him off with a whack, and send him back. After he was liberated, he led the High Holiday services, for 3,000 American Jewish soldiers, near Linz, Austria. In addition to being a Chazzan, he was also in the travel business. In 1970, his son told me that they were booking tours to Poland, as individuals wanted to visit graves. I last saw Chazzan Werdyger in Borough Park in 1982. I shall miss him, and always remember him.

17

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