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Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Tonight is the third Yahrzeit of Rabbi Nachman Bulman, Zt"l, who held many Rabbinical positions in America, was the Mashgiach Ruchani in the Ohr Sameach Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, and led an American community in the Galilee town of Migdal HaEmek, Israel.

However, perhaps less known was Rav Bulman's very strong connection to Negina. Although born in America, Rav Bulman's family were Gerer Chassidim from Poland. When the second Modzitzer Rebbe came to America in the early 1940s, Rav Bulman attended his Tishes [communal meals with the Rebbe] and davened in his shul. Rav Bulman absorbed a tremendous amount of niggunim, from the early Chassidic masters like the Shpoler Zeide [Kol BaYa'ar] and Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, to the Chassidim of Ropshitz, Ger and Modzitz. He did not refrain from teaching them to us, his talmidim.

As someone who is very attached to Jewish negina, I must acknowledge that the tune that Rabbi Bulman often used to bless the new month was a unique, rare Chassidic niggun that he learned from Rebbe Shaul of Modzitz. Having become very close to the Modzitzer Chassidim, I can attest that there are very few people that know this tune – another sign of his true greatness.

Rav Bulman also composed his own niggunim. Although they were very few in quantity, their quality was exceptional. I have been asked by the Modzitzer Rebbe's son, for example, to sing the waltz Rav Bulman composed for Menucha v'Simcha, a Friday evening zemer.

Yehi zichro baruch - May his memory be for a blessing.

I don't know if you will see this comment -- which I am writing weeks late -- but I only just read this entry now. R' Bulman zt'l was my father. He composed an Od Yisham for my wedding, in 1977. It sounds like you were close to him. I love hearing about him in unexpected places, and hearing from people who knew him. My father was an incredibly multi-faceted man, talented at so many things -- in his younger years he had a very beautiful voice, he could have been a professional singer -- if you knew him in his later years you wouldn't know that, because he was chronically hoarse. He was also a brilliant speaker, I have never heard his like. And he had an uncanny ability to read people -- almost supernatural.

I see that you mentioned Shlomo Carelbach several times. My father was close to Carlebach when they were both young men. However when Carlebach went off the derech, my father parted company with him. Yet, my father held that Carlebach had an exalted neshama and that his music came from a heavenly source.

If you are willing to share your memories of my father, I would love to hear from you. My email address is t613k@aol.com
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