Cantor Jacob Hohenemser was beloved at Temple Emanu-El in Providence and beyond, and his unexpected death in 1964 sent shockwaves through the community. Nicknamed “Hohney,” Hohenemser was born in Haigerloch, Germany, in 1911. He was a respected singer in Europe before his internment at the Dachau concentration camp.
Temple Emanu-El’s full-time music director, Arthur Einstein, sponsored Hohenemser’s emigration in 1940 and most likely saved his life. Hohenemser served as the temple’s cantor for 24 years; he also served as director of the Cantor’s Assembly of America and earned the first-ever Doctorate in Sacred Music from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
“He had a gorgeous voice,” recalls Dr. Brian Mayer, who has served as Temple Emanu-El’s cantor for the past 34 years. “People still speak well of him.” This memorial concert, held in 1965, helped create the Hohenemser Scholarship Fund, which has supported students of liturgical music to this day.