Astor Judaica Library
Special Jewish Music Score Collection

The LFJCC Astor Judaica Library Special Jewish Music Score Collection contains manuscripts and published works of over 1300 vocal and 100 instrumental scores of Jewish religious and secular music. The scores are “Special” in that they are not in the library catalog, which also contains books with music scores. Some of the earliest scores of vocal liturgical music date from the mid-1800s. They are rare and fragile and must be handled with great care. Most of the vocal liturgical scores are in Hebrew and have English transliterations. Most of the vocal secular scores are in Hebrew or Yiddish. Some also have English transliterations. 

These scores are organized in the following categories and filed alphabetically by title within them:

Searchable Portable Document Files (PDFs) of scores by category can be seen by clicking on the category name above.  Some of these files also list music catalogs and programs, Jewish music publications and papers, books, song sheets, and text items.  The contents of most collections are included in these files.  Hard copies of those not in these files can be found at the end of each category in the notebook at the library desk.  They are from books, many of which are in Hebrew, with more items than could be listed in the PDFs.

Scores in envelopes and books of scores are filed by category and type in two file cabinets near the copier in the library.  Each has a label in the upper left corner that shows the title, composer, arranger, editor, text writer, text language, publisher and publication date, category, and type.  The languages are English (Eng), Hebrew (Heb), Yiddish (Yid), Russian (Rus), German (Ger), and Ladino (Lad).  A “T” indicated a transliteration.  Access to these scores can be arranged by calling the Director of Senior and Adult Programs at (858) 362-1141.  You can make an appointment to see the collection, borrow scores when multiple copies exist, and copy scores on your smart phone.   

The vocal scores are of the following types:

  • Solos with and without accompaniment
  • Solo collections with and without accompaniment
  • Solos with choir with and without accompaniment
  • Solo with choir collections with and without accompaniment
  • Duets with and without accompaniment
  • Duet collections with and without accompaniment
  • Trios with and without accompaniment
  • Trio collections with and without accompaniment
  • Quartets with and without accompaniment
  • Quartet collections with and without accompaniment
  • Quintets accompanied
  • Mixed voice collections with and without accompaniment

The instrumental scores are of the following types

  • Accordion collections
  • B-flat trumpet or cornet collections
  • B-flat clarinet collections
  • B-flat clarinet or tenor sax collections
  • Cello collections
  • C instrument/ treble clef with piano
  • 2 C instruments/treble clef & piano
  • 2 E-flat saxes
  • Flute & piano
  • Flute, 2 violins, cello & bass
  • Flute or oboe, cello & piano collections
  • Flute, cello & organ or harp
  • Flute duets
  • Oboe, clarinet & bassoon
  • Orchestra score
  • Piano/organ
  • Piano/organ collections
  • Piano, violin & cello
  • Treble-clef melody lines
  • Treble-clef melody line collections
  • Violin & piano
  • Violin collections
  • Violin or mandolin collections
  • Violin & piano collections

Most of these scores were contributed by the late cantor and choir director Henri Goldberg and Dr. Harry Ruja, SDSU Professor of Philosophy and Psychology and founder of SDSU’s Judaic Studies Department.  Additional contributions were made by Sheldon Merel, Cantor Emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel.

Henri Goldberg was born in Berlin in 1892.  He settled in Detroit when he came to this country.  There he taught music and became the director of the Jewish Folk Chorus, the Sharey Zedek Choir, and several secular choirs.  After a post in Lafayette, California, in 1963 he came to San Diego and directed the choir at Temple Solel.  When it merged with Temple Beth Israel, he brought the choir there.  He also conducted the 54th Street JCC Chorus, which presented yearly concerts of Yiddish and Hebrew music.  After giving up those choirs he continued to be active in a variety of Jewish music activities.  He arranged the yearly Jewish Music Month programs at the JCC, directed the choir at Tifereth Israel for its High Holy Day services for several years, helped raise money for a grand piano at the JCC, organized a choir for the Bureau of Jewish Education to perform in a Holocaust Memorial program, etc.  Henri was not only a choir director but a great researcher and scholar of Jewish music.  Whenever advice was needed about Jewish music, he was sought out as the best authority.  After his death in 1977, yearly programs of Jewish music at the JCC were dedicated to him.

Harry Ruja was born in Paterson NJ in 1912.  He received a BA from UCLA in 1933, MAs from the University of Chicago in 1934 and SDSU in 1953, and a PhD from Princeton in 1936.  He began his teaching career at Compton College in 1939 where he taught until joining the SDSU faculty in 1947.  There he taught psychology and his philosophy specialties, which included metaphysics, philosophy of religion, social ethics, and continental rationalism.  He became a Professor of Philosopy in 1958.  He also taught for a summer at the Univesity of Minnesota and a year at Penn State.  He retired from SDSU in 1987.  His legacy there included serving as chairman of the philosophy department in the late 1950s, helping to start the Lipinsky Institue of Judaic Studies, and numerous publications in his field.  He also served as a campus advisor to Hillel from 1954 to 1964 and was a president of the San Diego chapter of the ACLU.  He died in 2002.

Sheldon Merel was invested as cantor-educator at the Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music in 1952, and in 1998 was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music.  Before coming to Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego, he served congregations in Oakland, Toronto, and the mid-west.  Here he also presented annual concerts with the JCC Symphony Orchestra at Beth Israel and seeral churches.  When he retired, members of Beth Israel established a cantorial scholarship fund in his name in perpetuity at the Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music.