CANTOR YOSHUA LERER
Cantor Yoshua Lerer was born to and an old and well-established Jerusalem family in 1920. The head of the family, Rabbi Aharon Natan settled in Israel over a generation ago. Rabbi Aharon Natan was the possessor of a magnificent voice, and functioned sanctimoniously at additional prayers in the great synagogue ''Tiferet Yisrael'' of Rabbi Nissan Bach in the old city of Jerusalem.
Cantor Yoshua Lerer, who from childhood was endowed with a pleasant and powerful voice, was raised in an atmosphere of singing and chanting, and his whole desire was to follow in the footsteps of his forebears whilst aspiring to advance along the road of the famous Cantors. As a child, his father placed him with the choir of Cantor Rabbi Shalom Zalman Rivlin. It took Rabbi Zalman only a short time to discern the boy's qualities and his talent as a Cantor, and he foretold a brilliant future for him. He served the boy as a guide on his initial path as a Cantor, entrusted him with superior functions as soloist when famous master cantors such as Rosenblatt, Kwartin, Hershman and others conducted prayers in Jersualem. The boy did not disappoint Rabbi Zalman, his guide and teacher. In addition to these talents, the boy displayed great determination and reached his desired goal. At the age of 17, Lerer conducted prayers together with Cantor Kwartin at the festival of Shavout at the ''Ohel Shem'' Hall in Tel Aviv in 1937.
At the age of 21, Cantor Yoshua Lerer was engaged as chief cantor by the central synagogue, ''Har Hacarmel'' in Haifa and held this position for 12 years. The congregation was enthralled by his pleasant and sweet prayers and would not allow Lerer to relinquish his position in the synagogue. It was only after Lerer had been invited by America and South African impresarios to conduct prayers as a guest cantor, that the finally consented since they had no option and agreed to the cantor's wishes.
In the United States Lerer accepted the post to Chief cantor in Cleveland. In addition to his many appearances in conducting festival prayers and concerts in different towns in America, under the auspices of the impresario Mr Heyman of Chicago. Lerer continued his training as a cantor and achieved much towards improving his scope in the fields of voice development, singing and music. In South Africa too, Lerer enchanted the congregations by his performances and he was offered important and permanent posts as chief cantor.
However, Lerer preferred to return to Israel where he was appointed chief cantor of the great synagogue in Hadera, and later as chief cantor of the great synagogue in Ramat Gan. Finally, he was appointed chief cantor of the great synagogue in Tel Aviv.
The most famous musicians have counseled Lerer to devote himself to opera as a means of elevating him to the peak in the sphere of singing, but Lerer has his traditions and because of his desire to guard the heritage passed on to him by his ancestors, pays no attention to the advices of his counselors, and continues to server in sanctity, in accordance with appointed destiny. Lerer is today recognized as one of the famous Cantors of contemporary times.
Here is Ki Chilatsto Nafshi Sung By Cantor Yehoshua Lerer