‘Champion of Jewish music’ Reuben Turner dies at 92

‘Champion of Jewish music’ Reuben Turner dies at 92

The founder of the Jewish Music Council, who escaped Nazi Germany in the 1930s, died over shabbat

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

Reuben Turner receiving his MBE from the Queen
Reuben Turner receiving his MBE from the Queen

Tributes have been paid to a “champion of Jewish music” after Rev. Reuben Turner passed away on Shabbat, two years after he was awarded an MBE.

Turner founded the Jewish Music Council, later taken over by the B’nai B’rith Music Festival, and had been the patron of the London Cantorial Singers since 2002, where he “championed the dissemination of Jewish music to wider audiences for many years”.

Born in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1924, he came to England in 1933, later becoming Minister and Chazan at Finsbury Park, Brixton and North Hendon Adath Synagogues.

An author and communal leader, he held several positions in educational and youth organisations, but music was his passion, and he became president of the Association of Ministers (Chazanim) of Great Britain and Co-founder of the Society for the Promotion of Jewish Liturgical Music.

His love of music meant that he became a regular radio broadcaster of liturgical music. He released a recording of ‘Selections from the Seder Service’ and produced a CD entitled ‘The Four Brothers Kusevitsky,’ before being awarded an MBE in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, for services to the Anglo-Jewish community especially to Jewish music.

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