In the Media

Benefit Concert For F.R.E.E.
- The Jewish Press


By Basha Oka

Abraham Presman, the internationally acclaimed cantor who has been performing to a packed shul in Brighton Beach during the yom tovim, will sing a special benefit concert for the Friends Of Refugees Of Eastern Europe (F.R.E.E.) on Sunday, October 20 at I p.m. at the Hebrew Alliance of Brighton Beach, 2915 Brighton 6th Street.

No less a luminary than the late Jan Peerce first recognized Presman's unusual vocal gifts and sent him to study with his teacher.

Although Presman comes from a musical family, it took him a while to become serious about a career as a chazan. True, his father and grandfathers had been chazans and his great grandfather on his mother's side was a particularly famous chazan in the Ukraine.

Presman recalls how his father, who davened Sephardi nusach, took him aside when he was nine years old and placed a Chabad siddur in his hands. "From now on you will daven with this," he said, "because without Chabad in Russia you will not survive as a Jew."

Presman became very devoted to learning and did not think -of chazonus as a way to make a living until he was married and living in Israel. A big shul in Netanya engaged him for the High Holy Days, and paid him a considerable sum of money for the job.

After this, Presman decided to become serious about chazonus. He applied to Israel's Ruben Academy of Music, which accepted him and awarded him a scholarship. He was too religious to perform in operatic scenes with females, but his teachers managed to find a scene in Benjamin Britten's "Beggar's Opera" in which only men appeared.

Presman's star rose as he became chief cantor at the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv, and was then hired by the Great Synagogue of Ramat Gan, at that time, the most important cantorial position in all of Israel. It was there, Presman says, that he really became a chazan.

He has performed all over the world, including important synagogues in England and South Africa

Two years ago when Rabbi Even-Yisroel (formerly Adin Steinsaltz) established a yeshiva connected with the Russian Academy of Science, Presman temporarily gave up his career to go and teach there. While in Moscow, he performed with the all male choir of the Moscow Synagogue, which he calls "outstanding." He hopes to perform with them again in the States on their upcoming tour. In the meantime, he made a recording of cantorial pieces with them, which is now available on compact disc.

Rabbi David Hollander of the Hebrew Alliance of Brighton Beach says Presman's sojourn there during the yom tovim "has been a tremendous drawing card for the Russian population. Over a thousand jammed the shul to hear him." He notes that for such a great talent, Cantor Presman did not stand aloof, but made the crowd feel close to him.

Rabbi Hollander, Gabbai Shmuel Cohen, and the Board of Directors of the Hebrew Alliance donate the shul free of charge to F.R.E.E. for Shabbos and yom tovim. Rabbi Hollander says the programs F.R.E.E. has initiated for Russian Jews "have brought a very great simcha, not only to the shul, but to the whole neighborhood."

True to its acronym, F.R.E.E. programs are free to Russian Jews, and include free circumcisions, bar mitzvah preparations, weddings, Russian-language publications on Judaism, pidyan habens, youth clubs, religious articles, and more. At the Hebrew Alliance and other shuls in the area, F.R.E.E. offers classes in Hebrew and English that include information about Judaism.

At Sunday's benefit concert for F.R.E.E., Cantor Presman will perform a varied program, including art songs, operatic arias cantorial pieces, and Yiddish favorites. Tickets are available at the Hebrew Alliance of Brighton Beach on the day of the concert. To purchase tickets in advance at other Brooklyn locations, contact F.R.E.E. at 1383 President St., B'klyn, NY. The October 20 benefit concert is the last chance to hear Cantor Abraham Presman perform this season.

Back to Top

In the Media
 The First Night
Lubavitch.com
 The First Night
TheBrooklynInk.com
 Lighting A Fire In The Snow
The Jewish Press
 A Bar Mitzvah in Brooklyn
Lubavitch.com
 The Auspicious Reunion
The Jewish Press
 Russian Jews and The Matzah Factor
Lubavitch News Service
 Rambam Writings In Russian
The Jewish Press
 Congregants Welcome Torah Home
Bay Ridge Courier
 Festival of Lights Shines Over Borough
Courier Life Publications
 Congregants Rejoice In New Scrolls
Courier Life Publications
 Brooklyn Is Showered With Hanukkah Gelt
Courier Life Publications
 Russian F.R.E.E. Choir
Jewish Family Services
 Russians
Encyclopedia of Chicago
 Jan Peerce at Carnegi
New York Times
 Melting pot of Jewish film
Australian Jewish News
 Renewing ties with their religion
Jewish Independent
 Abiding act of faith
The Washington Times
 The Heroic Struggle
The Jewish Press
 The Kindest Cut of All
Urban Gazette
 A Welcome for Refugees
Daily News
 Hanukkah Festivities
The New York Times
 Freedom For the Free
Algemeiner Journal
 9 Russian Jews Baptized
The Jewish Press
 A Nine Year Old Hero
Algemeiner Journal
 Rite for Jewish Males
New York Times
 FREE Services Russians
The Jewish Press
 A Rally of Their Own
The Jewish Week
 Sept. 11: One year later
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
 Russian Jews find home at center
The Cincinnati Post
 Interfaith and FREE celebrate 10,000 bris mila
New Directions (Interfaith Medical Center)
 Helping Hands
New York Newsday
 The Cutting Edge
Baltimore Jewish Times
 Benefit Concert For F.R.E.E.
The Jewish Press
 Rite of Passage
Waverley Council Mayor's Column
 The 10,000th Circumcision
The Flatbush Life
Hebrew
 And it was in the days of Achashveyrosh - Hebrew
Kfar Chabad Magazine
 The FREE organization - Hebrew
Dedushka
 FREE Publishing House - Hebrew
Kfar Chabad
 From Russia to Brooklyn... - Hebrew
Haaretz
Yiddish
 Celebration 85 - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 FREE opens New Synagogue in Brighton Beach - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 3000 Russian Immigrats at Purim Celebration - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 Dinner of Friends of Refugees - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 FREE - Friends of Russian Jewry - Yiddish
Kol Boro Park
 Report on The Dinner of The Friends of Refugees - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 Reb Nocum Preger is Honored at FREE’s Dinner - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
 Much dancing at a joyfulness celebration - Yiddish
Algemeiner Journal
Russian
 Gold Chanuka - Russian
Lechaim.ru
 Holiday for Torah in Crown Heights - Russian
Vecherniy New York
 Immigrants' Celebration - Russian
Novoye Russoe Slovo
 Yud Shvat - Russian
Novoye Russoe Slovo

About Us
F.R.E.E. Newsletter
Stay informed by subscribing to F.R.E.E.'s e-mail updates.
Site Tools
 
© 2003-2017 Cong. Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe. All rights reserved.