Cantor Harold Lerner
Died 10/12/2015 in New York City, NY

Harold Lerner October 12, 2015 Harold Lerner, retired cantor, died peacefully at home on October 12, 2015 in New York City. He was 92. Descendant of a long line of distinguished European cantors, Lerner decided early in life to follow in their footsteps. From the age of eight, he sang in the synagogue choirs of his home town, Lynn, Massachusetts. He started his formal musical education at age 14. After serving in World War II, Lerner enrolled at the Juilliard School of Music to study opera. Realizing he needed to earn a living, he also studied with Cantor Adolph Katchko, the country\'s most prominent teacher of cantors. After attending the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Lerner assumed his first full-time position as Cantor of Temple Beth Hillel in Boston. After four years, Lerner was called to Temple Adath Yeshurun in Syracuse, New York with his wife, the late Marilyn Rubin Lerner, where he served for many decades and distinguished himself through his versatility and musical strengths. Along with his numerous activities at the Temple, Lerner appeared frequently with all of the major musical institutions of the Central New York area. Lerner involved himself widely in community life as well. For several years he conducted the Syracuse Jewish Community Center Chorus. He served on the Boards of the Jewish Community Center, the Syracuse Jewish Federation, President of the Syracuse Chorale and Board of the Syracuse Ballet. For many years he was a member of the Cultural Resources Council of Syracuse and Onondaga County, and at the invitation of the mayor he served on the Ad Hoc committee, which resulted in the development and construction of the current Onondaga County Civic Center. He was also a member of the Dewitt Rotary, the Cantor\'s Assembly, and served as Chaplain of Onondaga Post 131, Jewish War Veterans. His principle legacy remains the pulpit where he moved generations of Syracusans of all faiths with his beautiful voice and his inspired musical renditions of the Liturgy. His series of annual Cantors Concerts set an example for excellence and innovative programming among all of the area churches and synagogues. Among his most acclaimed presentations were "Back From the Fair" based on the stories of Sholom Aleychem, "The Fiery Furnace" an opera with marionettes which toured the Syracuse Public School system, "And David Danced" a Sabbath Service composed in the Rock and Roll style, and "Haggadah, A Search For Freedom" which was nationally televised on PBS. Upon his retirement in 1992, Lerner was appointed Cantor Emeritus of his congregation. Following that, he came out of retirement to become the spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in Syracuse for several years. Shortly after, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in recognition of his many achievements. Since 2006, he enjoyed the cultural delights of his home at Lincoln Center in New York City with his wife, Ginger. He also wrote a Jewish musical, Kimber Road, which had staged readings at the 92nd Street Y and the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. Lerner is survived by his wife, Ginger; his daughters, Jamie Lerner Gabriel (Chuck) and Lisa Lerner, and his grandchildren, Jenna Gabriel, Matthew Gabriel, and Vaishali Lerner, as well as his step-family, the Siegels of Dallas and the Marlowes of Jacksonville. Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, at Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Road, Syracuse. Friends may visit with the family from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday at the Temple prior to the service. Private proceedings will be at the convenience of the family. Contributions may be made to Temple Adath Yeshurun Music Fund, 450 Kimber Road, Syracuse, NY 13224 or the American Cancer Society.
Published in the Syracuse Post Standard from Oct. 16 to Oct. 18, 2015
Burial Location