Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

A Finding Aid to the

Abraham W. Binder Papers 

Manuscript Collection No. 765

1924-1969 . 6.8 Linear ft.


 The Abraham W. Binder Papers were donated to the American Jewish Archives by the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, New York, New York, on August 22, 2008. The Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, by the act of donating the Abraham W. Binder Papers to the American Jewish Archives, assigned the property rights to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to material authored by Abraham W. Binder are held by the Binder heirs. All literary rights to materials authored by others are retained by the individuals and their heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. The papers are available to researchers in the reading room of the Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.

Photographs of Avraham Soltes have been moved to the Soltes Picture Collection, PC-4305.


Abraham Binder was born on the lower east side of New York City, where he lived out his entire life. His father was a cantor, and Abraham began singing in his father’s choir at the age of 5 as a boy soprano. By the age of 14, he was directing his own choir at the Kamenetzer Synagogue. During his teens he played organ, directed choirs, and taught harmony and music theory at two neighborhood settlement houses.

When he was 21 years old, he began collecting the folk songs of Palestine, harmonizing many for the first time. Arranged for female chorus, they were soon performed by his Hadassah Choral Union for the first time in America. Since those early days, revivals of Palestinian music have been played and recorded by the symphonic orchestras of Detroit and Philadelphia. The initial concert, along with other pioneering efforts, won him a music fellowship at Columbia.

Binder founded the School of Music at the 92nd St. “Y” in 1918. He became professor of Jewish Liturgical Music at Hebrew Union College in New York in 1921. In 1922 he began his long tenure as music director at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. Over the years, the accomplishments of this singular man were numerous, including the founding of the Jewish Music Forum in 1932, publication of his book Biblical Chant in 1959, and editorship of the third edition of the Union Hymnal, issued by the CCAR. He was also much in demand as both a lecturer and essayist.

Abraham Binder was married to Anna Friedman, a pianist and social worker. They had two daughters, Leah and Hadassah. Anna passed away in 1956. Abraham Binder died in 1966. 


The Abraham W. Binder Papers are arranged in five series. All but the last two, comprised of one box each, consist of music, most of which is hand written. Because Binder wrote music in pencil, there is pencil dust smudged over virtually every item in the collection.

SERIES A consists of works composed by Binder. The vast majority of the music Binder composed was liturgical, written for a choir and organ. Certain portions of the service seemed to hold great appeal for Binder; the researcher will notice several versions of Kedusha, May the Words, and, of course, High Holy Days liturgy. Another piece, Oh Lord, What is Man, appears many times. Other works of interest include A Hymn for the Space Age and Fantasy. Compositions are arranged in alphabetical order.

SERIES B contains works arranged or interpreted by Binder. Binder’s interests seemed to range more widely when it came to the music he arranged. Palestinian folk music was one such interest; Binder was the first to harmonize this culture’s vocal legacy. Church music was also an area of interest for Binder, and, as far as he was concerned, presented few if any obstacles. Should the words of a piece not suit the needs of a Jewish choir, Binder seemed to harbor few compunctions when it came to changing them. Thus the researcher will, in fact, find the music for Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus in this collection - albeit somewhat lyrically modified! Compositions are arranged in alphabetical order.

SERIES C encompasses Binder’s conductor’s copies from the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. Abraham Binder enjoyed putting his personal stamp on the music the SWFS Choir sang, with big red crescendos and decrescendos decorating the pages. He also seemed to enjoy music which offered high degrees of contrast; where normally pp (or pianissimo, i.e., very soft) might be found, Binder insisted on ppp. Likewise, music was only loud enough once it achieved fff (mezzofortissimo, i.e., very, very loud). Finally, it cannot escape the researcher’s attention that Binder was extremely fond of music which was to be sung maestoso, i.e., majestically. Compositions are arranged in alphabetical order.

SERIES D, Chronological, consists largely of service programs at which the choir performed. Folders are arranged in reverse chronological order.

SERIES E, Miscellaneous, contains random material having to do with Binder’s career; folder one in box 17 contains a complete bibliography of Binder’s works.


Box 		Folder			Contents
SERIES A.  Composed by Abraham W. Binder.  1924-1965.

1		1			Adon Olam.
		2			Adonoy.
		3			Adonoy, Adonoy.
		4			Ahavah Veachvah.
		5			At the Dawn.
		6			Benedictions.
		7			Bible in Song.
		8			Bible Lesson with Music.
		9			Birthday Service for Dr. Wise.
		10			Blessed is He.
		11			Boats.
		12			Bridges.
		13			By the Red Sea.
		14			Cantillation, Book of Esther.
		15			Comfort Ye!
		16			Candle Blessing.
		17			Confirmation Responses: Let Thy Heart.
		18			Dedication Songs.
		19			El Mole Rachamim.
		20			Esther, Queen of Persia.
		21			Faith, A Sacred Cantata.
		22			Fantasy.
		23			The Great Colossus.

2		1			Hanukkah.
		2			Hanukkah of the Maccabees.
		3			Hanukkah, Purim, Assorted.
		4			Hanukkah Songster.
		5			Harninu.
		6			Hashkivenu.
		7			The Heart of America.
		8			Here Let Thy People Come.
		9			High Holy Days, Ki Vayom, Amens.
		10			High Holy Days Music.
		11			Hodo al eretz.
		12			Homage to Joshua.
		13			Hora Vhodayah.

3		1			Horiu.
		2			Hymn for the Space Age.
		3			I Will Give Thanks.
		4			In God’s Own Day.
		5			Joy of the Festivals.
		6			Judas Maccabeus.
		7			Kedusha.
		8			Kol Nidre.
		9			Lecha Dodi.
		10			Legend of the Ari.
		11			Let My Prayer Come Unto Thy Presence.
		12			The Lord is My Shepherd (Psalm 23).
		13			Mah Nishtanah.
		14			Mah Tovu.
		15			May the Words.
		16			Mi Addir, Meheroh.
		17			Micha mocha.
		18			Mi sheberach.
		19			Morning Service for the New Year.
		20			Mountains of Judea.

4		1			Neilah Kaddish.
		2			Oh Lord, What Is Man.
		3			Or Zawrua.
		4			Our Father, Our King.
		5			Palestine in Song.
		6			Palestinian Song Suite.
		7			Passover to Freedom.
		8			Pischuli.
		9			Praise and Dance Choral Ballet.
		10			Purim Songs.
		11			Purim Songster.
		12			Rest in the Lord My Soul.
		13			Rinnath Shabbath.

5		1			Sabbath for Israel.
		2			Save Thy People.
		3			Seu Shorim.
		4			Services, Music for.
		5			Shehechyonu.
		6			Shiru Ladonoy.
		7			Shivisi Adonoy.
		8			Shoshanas.
		9			Sing Unto the Lord (Psalm 98).
		10			They Shall Not Hurt.
		11			Three Sabbath Songs.
		12			Tov L’Hodos L’Adonoy (Psalm 92).
		13			Union Songster.  1960.

6		1			Untitled Music.
		2			Untitled Music.
		3			Untitled Music.
		4			Untitled Music.
		5			Untitled Music.
		6			Vanachnu.
		7			Vayedaber Moshe.
		8			Veshomru.
		9			When There is Peace.
		10			Whimsical pieces.
		11			Ya-a-leh.
		12			Yigdal.  Dedicated to A.W. Binder.
		13			Yom Kippur, Finale.
		14			Zochrenu.

SERIES B.  Arranged/Interpreted by Abraham W. Binder.  N.d.

7		1			Adon Olam.  By Gerovitsch.
		2			Adon Olam.  Arranged by S. Naumbourg.
		3			Adon Olam.  By D. Nowakowsky.
		4			Adon Olam. By Salomon Rossi.
		5			Adon Olam.  By Sultzer.
		6			Adonoy, Adonoy.  By S. Naumbourg.
		7			Akdomus.
		8			Al Hanissim.
		9			America.  By Samuel Augustus Ward.
		10			Anim Zemiroth.  By Edward Stark.
		11			Artsa Alinu.
		12			Atah Horaysah.
		13			Be Not Afraid.  By F. Mendelssohn.
		14			Blessed is He Who Cometh.  By Gounod-Binder.
		15			Blessed is the Man.  By S. Rachmaninoff.
		16			Boker. 
		17			Book of Lamentations.  Cantillation.
		18			Borchu.  By H. Weintraub.
		19			Borchu, Shema.  By Heinrich Schalit.
		20			Borchu.  By Solomon Sulzer.
		21			Boruch, Shema.  By Goldstein’s.

8		1			Come, Come my Voice.  By. J.S. Bach.
		2			Come, Let us Sing. (95th Psalm).  By F. Mendelssohn.
		3			Come Unto Me.  By J.S. Bach.
		4			Der Ebershter iz der Mechutan.  Folk song.
		5			El Norah Allilah.
		6			Emathay.
		7			Four songs harmonized by J.S. Bach.
		8			From Generation to Generation.  By Eric Werner.
		9			Four Serious Songs.  By J. Brahms.
		10			God of Grace.  By Eugen Haile.
		11			Hallelujah (Psalm 150).  By Louis Lewandowski.
		12			Hallelujah, Amen.  By G. Handel.
		13			Hav Lachma.  
		14			Hodu and Ono for Shevuot.
		15			Hodu Ladonoy.
		16			Horiu.  By Alfred Rose.

9		1			Index of Choral Music.
		2			In Grateful Phrases.  By J.S. Bach.
		3			Kacha, Kacha.  By H. Zaira.
		4			Kedusho.  By M. Henle.
		4a			Keduscho.  By E. Kirschner.
		5			Ki Tavou el Ha-aretz.  Folk song.
		6			Kiddush.
		7			Kiddush for Rosh Hashana.
		8			Kol Nidre.
		9			La Shomrim ba Sadoth.  
		10			Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates.  By G.F. Handel.
		11			L’ma-an Tizkeru.
		12			Lord, We Pray, In Mercy Lead Us.  By Herbert Stavely Sammond.
		13			Mah Tovu.  By E. Kirschner.
		14			Mah Tovu.  By L. Lewandowski.
		15			May the Words.  By M. Goldstein.
		16			May the Words.  By L. Lewandowski.
		17			May the Words.  By Alfred Rose.
		18			Micha mocha.
		19			Micha mocha.  By S. Alman.
		20			Min Hametzar.  By F. Halevy.
		21			Na-aleh L’artsenu.  Folk song.
		22			Ne ila Kaddish.
		23			Nigun Bialik.
		24			O Weep For Those.  By Max Bruch.	
		25			Ono Tovo.  By Nowakowsky.
		26			Pakad Adonay.  By H. Zaira.
		27			Palestinian Folk Songs.
		28			Palestinian Folk Songs.

10		1			Palestinian Scout Song.
		2			Passover.
		3			Pesach Lonu.  By David Nowakowsky.
		4			Prayers of Israel.  By Isidor Freed.
		5			Psalm 150.  By Cesar Franck.
		6			Rad Halaylah.
		7			Responses for Friday Evening Services.
		8			Rhapsody.  By J. Brahms.
		9			Rock of Ages.
		10			Shema.
		11			Shir Ha-Atath.
		12			Shir Haligyonot.  By M. Zaira.
		13			Shira Ha-Palmach.  By D. Zahavi.
		14			Shir Nekama.
		15			Shir Shel Shabbath.  Folk song.
		16			Shirath Hachag.  Hasidic.
		17			Shir Ha Emek.
		18			Shirath Ha-roeh.  By R. Goyli.
		19			Shofar Service.  By E.J. Stark.
11		1			Song of Democracy.  By E. Siegmeister.
		2			Song of Penitence.  By L.v. Beethoven.
		3			Song of Songs, Ruth, Ecclesiastes.  Cantillation.
		4			Songs Israel Sings.
		5			Strike Thou Hour.  By J.S. Bach.
		6			The Sun Goes Down. 
		7			Thanks Be To Thee.  By G.F. Handel.
		8			There Shall a Star From Jacob.  By F. Mendelssohn.
		9			Three Songs of New Palestine.
		10			Thy Way, Not Mine.  By G. Bizet.
		11			Tsena, Tsena.  Folk song.
		12			V’al Kulom.
		13			Va-anachnu.  By M. Goldstein.
		14			Va-anachnu.  By Franz Wald.
		15			Vesav Mach Tav.
		16			V’nislach.  By H. Weintraub.
		17			V’shomru.  By A. Dunajewski.
		18			We are thy People.
		19			Wedding Ceremony Chants.
		20			Ya-aleh.  By Herbert Fromm.
		21			Yigdal.  By M. Cohen-Linaru.

SERIES C.  Conductor’s Copies, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Choir.  N.d.

12		1			Adon Olam.
		2			Adon Olam.  By Max Lowenstamm.
		3			America.  By Ernest Bloch.
		4			America - Our Heritage.
		5			As the Hart Pants (Psalm 42).  By F. Mendelssohn.
		6			Atonement Service.  By Edward Stark.
		7			Ave Maris Stella.  By Edvard Grieg.
		8			Ballad for Americans.  By Earl Robinson.
		9			Be Not Afraid.  By F. Mendelssohn.
		10			Children, Pray this Love to Cherish.  By Louis Spohr.
		11			Choral - To God on High.  By F. Mendelssohn.
		12			Day of God.  By Edward Stark.
		13			Early Will I Seek Thee.  By J.S. Bach.
		14			En Kelohenu.
		15			Esther Queen of Persia.
		16			Fest-Keduschah.  By Salomon Sulzer.
		17			For Sion Lamentation Make.  By G.F. Handel.
		18			God is our Refuge and Strength.  By Arthur Foote.
		19			Great and Glorious.  By Franz Joseph Haydn.

13		1			Hallelujah.  By L. Lewandowski.
		2			Hallelujah Chorus.  By G. F. Handel.
		3			He That Dwelleth.  By J. Lamont Galbraith.
		4			He Watching Over Israel.  By F. Mendelssohn.
		5			Hear My Prayer.  By F. Mendelssohn.
		6			The Heavens are Declaring.  By L.v. Beethoven.
		7			Hebraische Gesange.  By Max Bruch.
		8			Higher than Heaven.  By Maurice Rauch.
		9			Hymn 97.
		10			I Sought the Lord. By Boris Levenson.
		11			I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes.  By Wm. Webbe.
		12			If Our God Had Not Befriended.  By S. Alman.
		13			Jehovah Reigns Forever.  By W.A. Mozart.
		14			Joshua.  By M. Moussorgsky.
		15			Kedusha.						
		16			Kedusha.  By G.H. Federlein.
		17			Kedusha.  By A. Kaiser
		18			Ki Vayom.  By L. Lewandowski.
		19			Kol Nidre.
14		1			L’cho Adonoy.  By E. Gerovitsch.
		2			Let Israel Trust.  By J.S. Bach.
		3			Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates.  By G.F. Handel.
		4			Lord, How Long Wilt Thou Forget Me?  By F. Mendelssohn.
		5			The Lord is Gracious.  By Frank Ward.
		6			The Lord is my Light.  By James H. Rogers.
		7			The Lord is my Shepherd.  By Henry Smart.
		8			The Lord is my Shepherd.  By David Stanley Smith.
		9			The Lord is my Shepherd.  By Edmond Turner.
		10			The Marvelous Work.  By F.J. Haydn.
		11			May the Words.  By Nowakowsky-Binder.
		12			Micha mocha for Passover.
		13			Mogen Ovos.  By Nowakowsky.
		14			Ne’ilah Kaddish.
		15			O God When Thou Appearest.  By W. Mozart.
		16			O Lord God of my Salvation.  By W. Berwald.
		17			The Omnipotence.  By Franz Schubert.
		18			O Be Joyful in the Lord.
		19			O Promise Me!  By DeKoven.
		20			Ono Adonoy.  By L. Lewandowski.
		21			Ono Tovo.  By S. Naumbourg.
		22			Onward Ye Peoples!  By J. Sibelius.
		23			Orientale.  By Cesar Cui.
15		1			Passover to Freedom.  By A.W. Binder
		2			Praise the Lord O Jerusalem.  By J.H. Maunder
		3			Praise Ye the Father.  By Ch. Gounod.
		4			A Prayer for Purification.  By P.I. Tchaikovsky.
		5			Psalm 23.
		6			Response.
		7			Shew Us Thy Mercy, O Lord.  By L. Lewandowski.
		8			Sing Joyfully to the Lord.  By Scharwenka.
		9			Sing to the Lord (Gloria).  By F.J. Haydn.
		10			Song of Miriam.  By Anton Rubinstein.
		11			Ssu Scheorim.  By L. Lewandowski.
		12			Take What Thine Is, and Go Thy Way.  By J.S. Bach.
		13			Thou Guide of Israel.  By J.S. Bach.
		14			Thou, O Lord, Art Our Father.  By Arthur Seymour Sullivan.
		15			To Thee Alone Be Glory.  By J.S. Bach.
		16			The Twenty-fourth Psalm.  By Louis Spohr.
		17			Tov l’hodos.  By L. Lewandowski.
		18			Venislach.
		19			Ya-aleh.
		20			Zochrenu.

SERIES D.  Chronological.  1924-1969.

16		1			1960s.
		2			1960s.
		3			1960s.
		4			1950s.
		5			1950s.
		6			1950s.
		7			1940s.
		8			1920s.

SERIES E.  Miscellaneous.  1948-1969, n.d.
17		1			Bibliography.  1964, n.d.
		2			Choir, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.  1950, n.d.
		3			Choir, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.  n.d.
		4			Choir, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.  n.d.
		5			Jewish Holidays in Song.  n.d.
		6			Miscellaneous.  Hebrew and English.  n.d.
		7			Publicity.  1948-1963.
		8			Services, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.  1969, n.d.
		9			Amos on Times Square.  By A.W. Binder.  Copy dedicated to Avraham Soltes.
		10			Music dedicated to A. Soltes.  Bibliography of The Soltes Collection.	
		11			Barbed Wire and Butterflies.				
Copyright © 2008 Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives