Avraham Mordechai (Monye) Himelstein was born in Warsaw in 1905 and died in Johannesburg in 1974. He began singing in a Shul choir at the age of 6, and for the rest of his life was involved in Shul music. By the age of 14, he was conducting four-voice choirs.
He conducted various Shul and other choirs in Poland, conducting with some of the greatest Chazanim of Poland. In 1936, he was invited to South Africa, to the Roland Street Shul in Cape Town. A few years later he moved to the Yeoville Shul, and thereafter to the Great Synagogue, Wolmerans Street, Johannesburg. He also taught Bar Mitzvah to many young men in Johannesburg in the 1950’s, ‘60’s and 70’s.
He was accorded excellent reviews and earned an outstanding reputation in the fields of conducting, composition and arrangement of music for cantor and choir. Himelstein regarded the continuity and fostering of chazanut and of choral shul music as a holy mission, and he devoted much time to training both cantors and choir directors in the proper nusach. Among his protégés, are some of the best-known cantors such as Philip Badash, Benjamin Muller, and others. In later years he turned to composing chazanut for cantor and choir.
In his last years, Rev. Himelstein composed music for Chazanim and Shul Choirs, many of which have become part of the beloved repertoire of Shuls and Chazanim throughout the world.
His compositions have been compiled in two new books: Shirei Tefillah LaChazan and Shirei Tefillah LaMenatzeach and were edited and arranged by his son, Lior Himelstein.
These books are both available for purchase on Amazon.com
To purchase Shirei T'fillah Lamnazeach from Amazon please click HERE
To purchase Shirei T'fillah La'Chazan from Amazon please click HERE