Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Sing, Moishele, Sing!

Yisroel Besser

Aside from the classic cantorial clothing he wears until this very day, Chazzan Moshe “Moishele” Kraus has worn many hats: that of a Munkaczer talmid basking in the warmth and greatness of the Minchas Elazar, and shockingly, just a few years later, that of an IDF officer. But wherever he has gone in his long and fruitful career, he has always been doing the same thing: regaling and uplifting Jews — great Torah leaders and children in Bergen-Belsen the same — with his mellifluous voice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It’s a regular feature at museums and fairs celebrating places and eras long gone: a little booth with costumes and props of the epoch. For a small fee, a photographer will snap a black-and-white photograph of a visitor sitting still, assuming the pose and expression of a hardened revolutionary or a dashing English royal.

But look closely at those pictures gracing photo albums or mantles, and you will find the giveaway, the clue that cries “fraud”: the slight embarrassment in the smile, the glasses that say 2010 even as the rest of the uniform says 1910, the small bump of a cell phone under the cape.

My first thought upon meeting Chazzan Moshe Kraus is that he looks as if he stepped off the set of a production celebrating prewar Hungarian Jewry. But on him, there are no giveaways, no signs that it’s not for real. To be sure, he wears the right clothes for the part: a round, black bowler hat crowns his face, his white mustache is curled at the edges, and instead of a knotted tie, he wears a cravat, the neck-cloth minus the knot.

But his eyes — eyes that are nostalgic and longing, eyes that still reflect the grandeur of the central shul, that bespeak the decorum and dignity of tefillah — tell you that he’s for real.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"