R’ Eli Lipsker, a renowned musician and Baal Menagen of Chasidic music, passed away today.
He was 76 and suffered from a terrible illness in recent years.
Eli, longtime Crown Heights resident, was internationally known as a leading exponent of Chassidic music.
He was born in the former Soviet Union, where, at an early age his unique musical talents became apparent.
His family emigrated to Israel in 1948. The Lipsker home was always filled with an abundance of Chassidic singing, and he developed passion for Chassidic Niggunim. The young Eli taught himself to play the recorder and accordion by ear. Through these media, he was able to express himself musically.
In 1957, Lipsker was enrolled in the Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Brooklyn, N.Y. where his dream of living in close proximity to the Lubavitcher Rebbe was finally fulfilled.
The Rebbe offered much encouragement and blessing for Eli to develop his music skills alongside his Talmudic and Chassidic studies.
At Manhattan School of Music, and under the tutelage of leading music teachers and professors he studied piano, accordion, theory and composition.
When the Lubavitcher Rebbe asked that recordings should be made of the Chabad melodies, at first Eli took part of the choir. However, later he became its musical director. From the late 1960’s, as Chabad’s presence began to be established across the globe, Lipsker led an adult and a children’s choir, travelling to lead concerts in Chabad melodies. The evenings became known as “An Evening with Lubavitch.”
Eli Lipsker became a pathfinder, paving the way for other observant musicians to follow. For many years Eli taught music in Jewish Day Schools, where he served as a music director and choir leader.
Eli, whom the Rebbe referred to as “my Baal Menagen,” was known for his devotion to the propagation of Chabad Niggunim, and his vibrant tenor voice and accordion have appeared on many beloved Chassidic recordings. He served as soloist and musical advisor for the recordings of Lubavitcher Chassidim.
Most recently, Eli produced tapes designed to teach Nusach Hatfillah, which help youngsters and adults conduct synagogue services for weekday, Shabbos and holidays.
He is survived by his wife, Leah and children, Yosef Yitzchok Lipsker, Mendy Lipsker – Crown Heights and Shani Katzman – Omaha, Nebraska.
He is also survived by his siblings, Batsheva Feigenson, Zehava Perlow, Tzivia Grossman of Crown Heights and Rabbi Zalman Lipsker of Philadelphia.
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes.