Cantor William Sharlin z"l

William Sharlin z"l was born in 1920 in Harlem, to parents who had emigrated from Palestine.  From earliest childhood, his spiritual life was defined by his Orthodox family, his intensive Hebrew education and the synagogue, a place he characterizes as his “natural environment.”

In 1935, William and his parents returned to Jerusalem, where he completed high school and studied piano at the Jerusalem Conservatory.  Composing music provided an important outlet to him during the political turbulence in Palestine and the untimely death of his mother a year after their arrival.  In 1939, William returned to New York to study, earning a Master of Music in composition and piano from The Manhattan School of Music.  He entered the School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, earning a Bachelor of Sacred Music.

When HUC-JIR offered him a three-year fellowship to the rabbinic school in Cincinnati, he accepted.  There he began vocal studies while concentrating on composing and education.  In 1954, he became Cantor of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, California.

Beyond the walls of Leo Baeck Temple, Cantor Sharlin  served as Chairman of the Sacred Music department and Adjunct Professor at the Los Angeles campus of HUC-JIR.  He received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon his retirement in 1994. Widely known as a significant composer of Jewish music, generations have been touched by his gifts.