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Originally, at the time of the Talmud, the hazan was a caretaker of the synagogue and a functionary at the religious ceremonials. Today, the term hazan, or cantor, is applied to one who chants the religious services at temple and synagogue.

Modern cantonal music had its origin in the work of the Jewish Italian rabbi and composer, Salomon Rossi. Salomon Sulzer, Louis Lewandowsky, and many other hazanim in the 19th century helped develop the cantonal music used extensively in the synagogue to this day. Among the great cantors of our time, Rosenblatt, Kusevitsky, and Oysher stand out.

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