Cantor Emeritus Sidney Derner was a founding member of
Congregation B’nai Israel, served as our first President and was our Hazan for
over 40 years.
At the age of 4 years old he began his Cantorial education. He was drafted into a High Holiday choir and sang with them until the age of 18. At 8 years old, he was Cantor for the children’s Talmud Torah of the Sea Gate Sister Hood, in Brooklyn, NY. At his Bar Mitzvah he had the honor of being Cantor at the Sea Gate Sister Hood temple.
At 18 he was drafted into the Air Force. He wasn’t permitted to fly on Saturday and his gunner was
not permitted to fly on Sundays as they both conducted religious services.
After 37 missions over Germany they were the only two men left in the original
409 Group. After leaving the
service he went to Philadelphia University, and graduated with top honors, but
he continued singing in his High Holiday Choir.
In 1949 he married the love of his life Bunny, and in 1957 they moved to Emerson. His full Cantorial training was by Rabbi I. Margolies. Besides training a Temple Choir, he had the pleasure of preparing some students for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, chanting Shabbat services and performing weddings and funerals. What he enjoyed the most was when the choir, he trained, sang the most beautiful High Holiday Prayers, Cantor Derner volunteered his time and skills to B’nai Israel for over 40 years. In 1990 he retired from business and moved to South Jersey. He continued to lend his voice to his temple for an additional 8 years before stepping aside and welcoming Cantor Lenny Mandel to the B’nai Israel bimah.