Abraham Cardozo, Sephardic cantor, dies at 91

Abraham Lopes Cardozo, a synagogue cantor recognized for his efforts to preserve the music of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, has died at age 91, a relative said. Cardozo died Tuesday at a Manhattan hospital, his son-in-law Sid Tenenbaum said. Cardozo, a descendent of Portuguese Jews, was born in Amsterdam in 1914. He started working as a teacher and cantor at a Portuguese congregation in a former Dutch colony now known as Suriname in 1939, allowing him to escape the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam during World War II. Cardozo was well known in the Netherlands, where he was named a Knight of the Order of Oranje Nassau, a title equivalent to a British knighthood, in 2000 for his work preserving Dutch Jewish culture. In 2004, he traveled to Israel to record a CD, "The Western Sephardi Liturgical Tradition as Sung by Abraham Lopes Cardozo," released by the Jewish Music Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A funeral was scheduled for Wednesday at Shearith Israel, which was founded in 1654. The congregation is now housed on Manhattan's Upper West Side in the fifth synagogue building it has occupied.