A Cantor on Trial

USA, 1931, 10 Minutes, B&W
Yiddish with English subtitles
Directed by Sidney M. Goldin
Music by Sholem Secunda

with complete new English subtitles
by The National Center for Jewish Film

Buy Now

Also available in its entirety on the
Great Cantors 2 Disc Set

Public Exhibition Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta

"A precious cultural artifact, a very funny satire of Jewish identity in flux."
-Toronto Jewish Film Society


This short gem features Louis "Leibele" Waldman playing three different parts - first an old-world Eastern European, then a German, each auditioning to be the synagogue cantor. Displeased with what they've heard and unable to agree, the synagogue committee is visited by Leibele's agent who offers them a third alternative: a modern an American Chazan, with "pep and jazz" who can do Kol Nidre with a "two-step" and Netaneh Tokef with a "Black Bottom" (a popular 1920s dance).

Selected Screenings

Yiddish Film Festival at Yale University (2015)
Cinebeasts/ Anthology Film Archive, New York (2012)
Tuscaloosa Jewish Film Festival (2012)
Virginia Jewish Film Festival (2009)
Reno Jewish Film Festival (2008)
Vienna Jewish Film Festival, Vienna Film Archive (2008)
San Diego Jewish Film Festival (2007)
Sacramento Jewish Film Festival (2007)
Seattle Jewish Film Festival (2007)
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (2006)
Tucson Jewish Film Festival (2006)
Toronto Jewish Film Festival (2004)
L’Chaim Jewish Film Festival (2004)

NCJF Film Restoration

Restoration was completed with funding from The National Film Preservation Foundation, Brandeis University and The Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Special Thanks to Cantor Harvey Waldman

2002 Restoration © The National Center for Jewish Film
Executive Director Sharon Pucker Rivo
Associate Director Miriam Saul Krant
Technical Director Rich Pontius
Translator Cantor Murray E. Simon
Title Animation Frame Shop
Laboratory Cinema Arts, Inc.


Produced & Directed by Sidney M. Goldin
Music by Sholem Secunda
Photography by Marcel le Picard & Charles Levin
Dialogue by Isidor Lillian
Film Editor Paul F. Maschke
Recording Engineers Anthony J. Weber, Henry J. Kuehner, Percy R. Glens
Recorded by Recording Laboratories of America


Official Leibele Waldman blog

Purchase the Film

Home Use DVD: $19.95

Does not include Classroom or Library Use Rights or Public Performance Rights. More Information


Classroom/Library Use DVD: $50

Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information

Digital Site Licensing (DSL) available - Contact us

Step down pricing for K-12 & public libraries may be available - Contact us

Arrange a screening - Contact us

Also directed by Sidney M. Goldin

The Cantor's Son (Uncredited)

East and West

His Wife's Lover

Uncle Moses


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