Truck backing up to Wimberly Library loading dock
I cannot express to you the excitement on the morning of Friday, September 11, 2009 as the entire staff of the Judaica Sound Archives and volunteers from other FAU Library departments waited for the arrival of the truck which had been loaded with recordings from the Jack Saul collection in Cleveland.
Nat had been preparing for a week, finding areas of the Wimberly Library where the boxes could be stored until they are unpacked, rounding up volunteers, assigning work tasks at the loading dock, measuring entranceways to make sure that the pallets loaded with boxes could fit through, arranging for carts to be available where the pallets couldn’t fit, etc. With his incredible organizational skills and attention to detail the operation felt like a well-designed military operation. Everything went perfectly! Within 4 hours all the boxes had been unloaded and stacked in their designated areas.
730 boxes of phonograph recordings to unload
Nathan Tinanoff directs the off-loading at the loading dock of FAU Libraries
Jack Saul's Cleveland home
After Jack Saul died in May 2009, Nathan Tinanoff of the Judaica Sound Archives was called to the Sauls’ home in Cleveland. The Saul family wanted to donate the Judaica portion of Jack’s huge collection of sound recordings to the JSA. Although Nat had spoken with Jack Saul several times over the years and had been told by many people of his incredible collection of recordings, he was still unprepared for what he found. The small suburban bungalow was unremarkable. But what was inside was remarkable indeed!
What Nat saw were stacks of records! Stacks of records in the living room. Stacks of records in the basement. Stacks of records on the stairs. Stacks of records on the dining room table. The house was literally jam-packed with phonograph recordings, tapes, and CDs.
Jack Saul's basement
Jack Saul's living room
Jack Saul's staircase
The first task that Nat faced was to locate the Judaica recordings. He was able to identify over 12,000 recordings that could be added to the archives. But there were other treasures that he discovered. For example, he found tens of thousands of 78 rpm phonograph recordings that were in mint condition. Even though they weren’t Judaica, he knew they were important.
When Nat returned to Florida he and Dr. William Miller (Dean of FAU Libraries) had a talk. Dr. Miller agreed that the collection of 78 rpm recordings were just too rare and valuable to be left behind. Dr. Miller decided to bring those records to FAU Libraries to start a new collection of vintage phonograph recordings at the Wimberly Library.
LP albums headed for JSA in Boca Raton, FL
We were delighted when Jack Saul visited the Judaica Sound Archives in February 2009. He was accompanied by his wife, Hinda, his son Ken and daughter-in-law Julie. Jack was well-known to us because he had amassed what we believed to be the largest private collection of sound recordings in the USA, maybe in the world.
Jack Saul and Nathan Tinanoff examine an old Victrola at the JSA in February 2009
Jack Saul and his family were impressed by what they saw at the JSA. As he walked down the aisles of shelves holding tapes, CDs and LP phonograph albums Saul would stop from time to time to comment about a recording. He was very knowledgeable and seemed to know every one of his tens of thousands of recordings personally.
Jack Saul visits JSA 2-6-09
According to Arlene Fine of the Cleveland Jewish News Jack Saul filled his modest home with over 150,000 phonograph records. Over 36,000 of these have been donated by his family to FAU Libraries. About 12,000 of the recordings will be added to the JSA’s collection.
After his untimely death on May 1, 2009 we learned that the Saul family wanted to donate all of the Judaic recordings in the collection to the JSA. So it was with a mixture of heavy heart and anxious anticipation that Nathan Tinanoff, Ben Roth and Bill King went off to Cleveland to supervise the selection and packing of the recordings that were headed to FAU Libraries.
(Bottom) Ben Roth; standing from left: Bill King, Hinda Saul, Nathan Tinanoff
On Rosh Hashanah it is written and on Yom Kippur it is sealed: how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created….But during the Days of Awe, Repentance, Prayer and Charity can avert a severe decree.
Some of Judaism’s most beautiful and compelling music has been inspired at this sacred time of year. The importance, emotion and solemnity of the music of the Holy Days represent the highest achievements of the cantorial art. The Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University Libraries is proud of its outstanding collection of cantorial recordings. During the next few weeks the JSA will highlight some of the great cantors of the past and present singing the music of the High Holy Days.
The incredible lyrical tenor voice of Cantor Leib Glantz evokes the feeling and intensity of the old “Ba’al T’filoh” of Eastern European Jewish communities. Through his voice and his compositions we can be transported through time to an era long gone, but not forgotten.
Born in Kiev (Ukraine) in 1898, Cantor Leib Glantz lived in the USA from 1926 to 1954 when he was able to fulfill his dream of moving to Israel. He died on January 27, 1964 in Tel Aviv. He was the last, and perhaps the greatest cantor of the “Golden Age of Chazanut.”
The quality of his musical education, his penetrating knowledge of the Hebrew language, and his deep philosophical religiosity, enabled him to create musical interpretations of the prayers that brought new light and meaning to every word. “The words he sang seemed destined to rise like angels into the heavens. To listen to him was like witnessing a man speaking to God! He had a voice that sang like no other voice. Many cantors have tried to imitate his singing, but few have felt they have succeeded.”
|Glantz combined his cantorial art with fervent and tireless Zionist activism. He edited a Zionist newspaper and was a leader in the Zionist movement in Eastern Europe, the United States, and finally, Israel.
Leib Glantz was a great scholar who explored the origins of Jewish music and firmly established the historical continuity of Jewish music from its beginning in the Holy Temples of Jerusalem to modern times. He also founded an Academy for Cantors in the Tel Aviv Institute for Jewish Liturgical Music.
Click here to listen to this album
Where has all the Jewish music gone? Ever wondered what happened to all the Jewish music of days gone by? Voices of the great cantors of the past. Music from Yiddish theater. The Judaica Sound Archives may not have all the old Jewish music, but with tens of thousands of audio recordings it is well on its way.
The Judaica Sound Archives – Research Station (JSA-RS) was developed at FAU Libraries to provide a digital resource of recorded sound, containing tens of thousands of audio tracks from the archival collection of the JSA. The original source materials available through the JSA Research Station are 78 rpm recordings produced as early as 1901, LPs, 45 rpm recordings, cassette and 8-track tapes, and CDs.
Along with this wealth of audio recordings, JSA Research Stations allow access to discography and other pertinent information such as label and jacket scans which will greatly enhance a researcher’s ability to study this material. This includes the ability to search for and see listings of all recordings in the JSA archives, whether or not they have been digitized. Therefore, faculty and other researchers can conduct real-time, online research using the JSA-Research Station. Currently the JSA-Research Station accesses 19,000 songs from 2,000 different audio albums and 2,322 songs originally recorded on 78rpm. This library will be expanded throughout the coming year.
There are now 13 official JSA-Research Station sites in the USA, Canada, Israel and England. They are:
- American Jewish University Library, Bel Air, CA
- Florida Atlantic Univesrity, Wimberly Library, Boca Raton FL
- Gratz College Library, Melrose Park, PA (near Philadelphia)
- Hebrew Union College Library, \New York City, NY
- Jewish Music Institute Library and School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, London, England
- Jewish Public Library of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- National Library of Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
- National Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA
- Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, Chicago, IL
- University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
- University of Pennsylvania Library, Philadelphia, PA
- University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
- Washington University of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO