Prolific Hasidic composer dies at 91

Rabbi Ben Zion Shenker, who composed more than 500 Hasidic melodies, or niggunim, including some recorded by violinist Itzhak Perlman, died Nov. 20 in Brooklyn, New York, at 91. He reportedly suffered from heart problems.

Shenker, who was an ordained rabbi, was associated with the Polish Modzitzer Hasidic sect.

He recorded his own melodies and had them recorded, as well, by prominent musicians such as clarinetist-mandolinist Andy Statman, along with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He also influenced the music of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, according to the New York Times.

He is survived by three daughters, 23 grandchildren and more than 90 great-grandchildren. — jta