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Rabbi Joseph Baer Glushak
Birth: Mar. 15, 1868
Vitsebskaya, Belarus
Death: Oct. 18, 1939
New York
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA

Rabbi Glushak served Congregation B'nai Amoona, St. Louis, Missouri as senior rabbi for less than 1 year (1914-1915) and he is listed along with other rabbis who served St. Louis congregations. The full list can be found at SAINT LOUIS RABBIS.

Jewish Chronicle 6 Jul 1906

On the 2nd of June the Rev. I. Glushak delivered a farewell sermon in the Roeland Street Synagogue. He referred to the efforts he had made with regard to the training of the choir, which, he said, "had been raised to such a high standard that it need not fear comparison with any European

Content thanks to researchers Ann Rabinowitz and Paul Cheifitz

Rabbi Glushak became a naturalized citizen of South Africa at the age of 37 in 1904. The record and dates are on the jpg image on the right. Click below the bottom photo on the right to reveal other photos as well as the naturalization record.

The earliest confirmation of Rabbi Glushak's rabbinic/cantorial career was revealed in some earlier research completed by a Jewish historian in Glasgow. He discovered that the Rabbi is listed in the Glasgow Post Office Directory from 1907-1910. He was listed as a "reader" in the congregation. He was also listed as a cantor in the Dr. K. Collins book "Second City Jewry-the Jews of Glasgow in the age of Expansion." She writes, "South Portland Street tried to ensure that by the employment of a high standard of Chazan they would attract and maintain a large membership. The appointment of Rev. Glushak, a member of the Royal Academy of Music in Vienna, should be seen as part of this tradition." Collins also mentions that the Rabbi's son Leopold helped to form Hebrew Speaking Societies in Glasgow in 1909. The South Portland Street Synagogue is shown with the photos on the right. The building is no longer standing and the Synagogue closed in 1974.

Materials from Rabbi Glushak's archival biographical file reveal that he played the Zither and was quite accomplished.

This research material is courtesy of John Simson, Rabbi Glushak's great-grandson.

While Glushak usually performed his duties as a rabbi at his various congregations, he would and could often perform the duties as a cantor. Among other duties of clergy in the time of Glushak's rabbinate, was educator with the children of the congregation.

Glushak performed at the Odeon/Massonic Temple in St. Louis, Missouri as a baritone soloist along with a solo cellist Ewald Graul from Leipsig in January 1915 according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch 1/15/1915. A 50-piece orchestra accompanied the performers.

He performed as a baritone on WOR radio, Newark NJ in 1924. The announcement appeared in the Daily News, Frederick, MD.

Rabbi Glushak was the son of Leo Glushak from Latvia. His mother's maiden name was Dobel. Rabbi Glusak's home residence at the time of his death was 725 High Street, Newark, NJ. There is a family story that exists stating that the original family name was Schindler but the family purchased the surname of a neighbor's only male son who had died. Since the Russian army would not take the sole male child of a family for the purpose of conscription, the new identity of the (now) Glushak son protected him from serving. There were no death records of the child who passed so there was no conflict with this name change.

Rabbi Glushak arrived in the United States through Ellis Island on the USS California on August 1, 1910. Port of departure was Glasgow, Scotland.

Wife #1 - Alida Glushak
Wife #2 - Fannie Glushak
Daughter - Fannie (Mrs. Alexander) Simson
Son - Dr. Leopold I. Glushak
Son - David Glushak
Son - Harry Glushak

** Glushak Rabbinic/Cantorial Chronology **

1901 1901 Census, Grimsby, England

Grimsby Hebrew Congregation, Lincolnshire, England

1903 Ship's manifest from England to Cape Town

1904 South Africa Naturalization

Roeland Street Synagogue
Cape Town, South Africa

South Portland Street Synagogue, Glasgow, Scotland

Adas Israel Synagogue, Washington, DC
Rabbi and Cantor

B'nai Amoona Synagogue, St. Louis, MO

Shaare Zedek Synagogue, Detroit, MI

Congregation Ohev Shalom, Washington, DC

Congregation Brisk D'Lita, Newark, NJ


The following biographical text compiled from the 1982 book commemorating the 100th Anniversary of B'nai Amoona, St. Louis, Missouri. The book is titled B'NAI AMOONA FOR ALL GENERATIONS...A NEW ERA. Reproduced with Permission

.....Following the departure of Rabbi Moses Rabinowitz, B'nai Amoona began a new search for a rabbi. After eliminating some prospective candidates, the congregation settled on Rabbi Joseph Glushak, who was holding a pulpit at Congregation Adas Israel, Washington, D.C. from 1910-1914. The rabbi was offered a three-year contract, which he accepted. He arrived on September 1914 to assume his duties.

Rabbi Glushak was a man of many capabilities. In addition to being a rabbi, he was also a hazzan and a mohel (the man who performs the circumcision ceremony) and on at least one occasion while in Saint Louis he performed operatic arias.

The rabbi preached in Yiddish and English, which probably meant that he or his parents were Eastern European immigrants. But he may have been overly modern for the tastes of B'nai Amoona members. Shortly after his arrival, he placed a notice in the paper announcing his intention to start a mixed chorus of men and women to sing in Hebrew. However, the plan never materialized and when Rabbi Glushak functioned as a hazzan, he was accompanied by the traditional all-male choir.

The only available information that throws light on Rabbi Glushak's background is that his son was a medical doctor and a British citizen (1). This suggests that his family may have lived a relatively long time in English-speaking countries and that the Rabbi may have been too westernized to fit in well with his new congregation.

At the annual meeting in October 1914, the comments by President Harry Siegfried regarding the new rabbi suggest that he was not being readily accepted. Siegfried praised Rabbi Glushak for the excellent manner in which he conducted the High Holiday services and noted that the "members, in general, are well pleased." But the president found it necessary to urge the congregation to aid the rabbi with their goodwill, "especially now, until he is thoroughly familiar with us. We must all place our full confidence in him. He needs that help...We must give him our full moral assistance and respect."

These remarks, made just a few weeks after Glushak assumed his office, suggest that the members were not entirely satisfied with their choice. If this was the case, the attitude did not change, since a year later the rabbi was forced to resign. He left St. Louis for Detroit, where he became rabbi of Shaare Zedek congregation.

(1) Rabbi Glushak's son Dr. Leopold Glushak was born in Estonia prior to the time when the Rabbi and his family left for Cape Town early in his rabbinic career. Perhaps Dr. Leopold Glushak developed his formative English while there. Source:


New York Times
October 20,1939
Page 28





Rabbi Joseph Glushak of Congregation Brisk-D'Lita, Newark, NJ, who was also well known as a cantor, died here Wednesday night at the Fifth Avenue Hospital after a week's illness. He was 71 years old.

Born in Russia, a descendant of noted rabbis, he attended a rabbinical seminary there and became a rabbi. Discovering that he had a talent for chanting prayers, Rabbi Glushak studied at Riga, Latvia then a part of the Russian Empire to be a cantor. He continued his musical studies at Vienna, participated in various European concerts and after refusing to join a Viennese operatic company, returned to Riga, where he became a noted cantor.

In 1889 he began to serve as a cantor in Leeds, England. He remained there until 1902, when he was called to Cape Town, South Africa, to service as rabbi and cantor. While there he sang at state functions at the request of government officials.

He left Cape Town in 1907 to take up duties in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1910 Rabbi Glushak came to the United States at the age of 40(1). He served in Washington, D. C. as a rabbi and cantor at Adas Israel. About 1914 he moved to Saint Louis, Missouri, where he was rabbi and cantor at Congregation B'nai Amoona. During his time in Saint Louis he would often sing with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Me moved away from Saint Louis in 1915. He held various posts in New York. About three years ago he became rabbi of Congregation Brisk-D'Lita.

Surviving are his Widow, Mrs. Fanny Kahn Glushak; two sons, Dr. Leopold I. Glushak and David Glushak; a daughter, Mrs. Alexander Simson, and eight grandchidlren, all of New York. A funeral service will be held at 11:30 A. M. today at the Riverside, Amsterdam Avenue and Seventy-First Street.

(1) He arrived in New York through Ellis Island on the S. S. California on August 1, 1910 from Glasgow, Scotland


The following biographical excerpt is from the book titled "The Assembly: A Century in the Life of Congregation Adas Israel of Washington DC."
Author: Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz
Published in 1993.
Page 316-319

A new cantor appeared on the scene in 1910 shortly before the holidays. Rev. Joseph Glushak, a recent immigrant from Scotland, was elected for one year but not without the familiar bargaining process focusing on both salary and duration of contract. What salary could they afford? Should the contract be for twelve months from the date of hiring or fifteen months to the end of the fiscal period, December 31, 1911? Proponents of the twelve-month period prevailed, electing Glushak to serve as chazen, teacher, and Bal Korewh. Board member Rose Hornstein would remember Glushak as "venerable and white-haired."

Cantor Glushak alone, who in addition to other responsibilities, was asked to supervise the school for his annual $1,500, a salary so frequently in arrears that he was finally forced to write a letter to the board demanding payment. The board did not take kindly to the letter's tone. This was not to be the last demand Glushak felt forced to make for payment (partially or otherwise) of his salary.

In 1913, Glushak felt compelled to turn to the board with a new complaint. Ten dollars had been deducted from his wages. In a letter to the board, he referred to the "universal custom that no chazan officiates on the Sabbath before Rosh Hashanah." However, he continued, when he told the board that he would not be present to chant the services on the Sabbath preceding Rash Hashanah, the president had threatened to deduct $10 from his salary.

"As it happened," Glushak wrote to the board, "I suffered that week from an abscess of the gum and could not attend services." Nonetheless, the board president made good on his threat, deducting $10 from the cantor's salary. "Where in the face of all the world is such an act of injustice exercised on a minister of a Synagogue, a family man whose humble wages are very limited?" Glushak pleaded. "I appeal for your discretion and hope that your decision on the matter may be more consistent with common sense than that of your president who has been too hasty in effecting evil." Moreover, Glushak complained, he had not been paid for a month, his daughter was ill, and the treasurer could no longer help him.

Synagogue president Simon Oppenheimer was not accustomed to being challenged, especially by a cantor; he did not forget the affront to his authority. In March, he reported to the board that Glushak had failed to attend congregant Roginski's funeral without giving any reason and had left the District without Oppenheimer's permission.

In June, claiming it was in order to effect necessary economies, Oppenheimer recommended that the cantor should be dismissed. There had been complains that Glushak "had been uncivil to the children," he said. Though the board overruled the president, Glushak's annual salary was reduced to $900. Even those wages were usually in arrears, angering board members who felt that Glushak was being mistreated by a vindictive president.

The next month, Oppenheimer called a special meeting to report that Glushak had requested a three-week leave to visit his family in Scotland. When the request had been refused, Glushak had responded that "he would go to Europe without leave." Oppenheimer seized upon the cantor's response as an implied resignation. Glushak surrendered. Weary of the conflict, he agreed to resign if he were paid the $270 due him for wages in arrears. The money was borrowed and paid, whereupon Glushak resigned as of July 15, 1914.

The top photo image on the right of Rabbi Glushak is a photo of an original oil on canvas painted in 1930 by American artist Aaron Berkman (1900-1991). The image was provided by a member of the Glushak family.

The clock photo is of a special tribute clock presented to Rabbi Glushak while at the Grimsby Hebrew Congregation in Lincolnshire, England in 1901.

Scroll down this page and just below the final photo on the right, click on the access link to reveal more photos. Double-click on any photo image to enlarge it and to reveal any captions, or attributions by scrolling to the bottom of the photo.

The rabbi featured on this Find A Grave page is one of many included in a "Virtual Cemetery" of rabbis who've passed but who served on St. Louis pulpits during their rabbinate. The complete "Virtual Cemetery" list can be found at SAINT LOUIS RABBIS. Questions about this "Virtual Cemetery" project may be directed to:
Steven Weinreich
Family links: 
  Fannie Kahn Glushak (1876 - 1943)
  Alida Gutkin Glushak*
  Leopold Israel Glushak (1889 - 1964)*
  David A Glushak (1898 - 1960)*
  Fannie Glushak Simson (1899 - 1964)*
*Calculated relationship
New Montefiore Cemetery
West Babylon
Suffolk County
New York, USA
Plot: Block 4, Sec 4, Plot 3
Created by: Brent Stevens
Record added: Mar 29, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 87521105
Rabbi Joseph Baer Glushak
Added by: Steven Weinreich
Rabbi Joseph Baer Glushak
Added by: Brent Stevens
Rabbi Joseph Baer Glushak
Added by: NoreenP
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