Brooklyn, NY – Dovid Werdyger, a Jewish music icon who considered to be the pioneer of Jewish music as we know it today was niftar this morning at age 94.
Born in Poland in 1919, Werdyger was a Holocaust survivor who was in several concentration camps during the war and worked in the factory run by Oskar Schindler. Werdyger, who moved to Brooklyn after the war and founded Werdyger Travel, threw himself into preserving Chasidic music, recording over 50 albums of the music of various chasidic dynasties.
A legendary chazan and singer and the founder of the Aderet music label, Werdyger was the scion of one of today’s most prolific music families and was the father of superstar Mordechai ben David and grandfather of singers Yeedle and Yisroel Werdyger.
Yisroel Werdyger recalls his grandfather, a Gerrer chasid, as a role model par excellence.
“My grandfather’s devotion to yiddishkeit always challenged us to emulate his ways,” Yisroel Werdyger told VIN News. “Knowing his history and what he went through during the Holocaust and seeing him live a Torah’dig life was an inspiration.”
Yisroel Werdyger recalled his grandfather as a man who always put his principles and his family first.
“In his early years he declined very prestigious chazanus positions in out of town areas, despite the huge financial benefit, because of the chinuch of his children. He was also among the first to challenge secular music with chasidic music from many courts.”
Producer Sheya Mendlowitz described Werdyger as an inspiration on many levels.
“After the Nazis took everything, he came to America with nothing and built a beautiful, royal family with a rich musical heritage,” said Mendlowitz. “He made sure to set up each of his four sons in the music business and in the travel business and he started it all with zero.”
Werdyger’s strong Chasidic ties were a crucial part of his music, according to Mendlowitz.
“He was close with the various rebbes and he represented the many different Chasidic dynasties in his records. He was a legend in Jewish Chasidic music.”
The levaya will take place today at 1 PM at Shomrei Hadas Chapels at 14th Avenue and 39th Streets in Borough Park.
The family will be sitting shiva at the home of Yisroel Werdyger at 1447 48th Street.