Cantorial Biography


Cantor Sherwood Goffin has been the Chazzan of the famed Lincoln Square Synagogue on Manhattan’s West Side since its founding in 1965, where he assisted Rabbi Shlomo Riskin in the building of this world-renown model Orthodox shul. He officially retired on January 1st, 2016 with the title of “Founding Chazzan,” retaining some congregational responsibilities, such as davening for the Yamim Noraim. For thirty-five years, from 1962 – 1997, he was also one of America’s first and foremost artists in the world of contemporary Jewish music at concert venues throughout the USA and Canada, producing six successful record albums during that time. At over 27 years of National Conventions of NCSY and at numerous youth and adult concerts across the country, he popularized many songs that we all sing today, including: the “Ets Chaim Hi” we all sing on Shabbat in shul, “The Little Bird”, “Keitsad M’rakdim” to “L’cha Dodi”, and many Bostoner Niggunim. Many of these songs can be heard on his popular recordings: Neshomo/Mimkomo Classic reissue double CD distributed by Aderet, and his “Live” recordings of solo concerts at Town Hall, NYC, and Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, NYC, all available on this website.

Sherwood “Shimon” Goffin was the first to introduce the niggunim of the Bostoner Rebbe of Brooklyn, with whom he spent almost every Shabbat in his teenage years. As a result, some of those niggunim, such as Hatov, Ma Naavu, Meheira, have become classics. Famously, he was also the acknowledged “Voice of Soviet Jewry,” singing rally songs such as “Kachol V’lavan” and “We are Leaving Mother Russia” before tens of thousands of attendees at every Soviet Jewry “Solidarity” rally from 1964 to 1991 before the U.N. and elsewhere.

In 1996 he permanently left the concert stage to enter the academic world as Coordinator of Outreach of the Belz School of Jewish Music at Yeshiva University, where he now teaches and has taught college-level classes in Jewish Liturgy and Folk Music since 1987. He is the Co-President of the Cantorial Council of America, the only Orthodox organization of cantors in the world, an affiliate of Yeshiva University. Chazzan Goffin is recognized as an expert who has written extensively about Nusach Hatefillah, as well as on the utilization of congregational melodies for tefilla, and lectures widely on the subject at venues all over the USA, most recently at Yale and Princeton Universities, the OU convention, and at synagogues in Edison, NJ, Scarsdale, NY, and Brookline, Mass. Two of his well-received articles on both the Nusach Hatefilla and the Niggunim of the Yomim Noroim have appeared in Yeshiva University’s Rosh Hashana-To-Go publication of 5769 and 5770, and are available on One can also access at that site numerous audio lectures given in the past by Chazzan Goffin on various tefillah subjects.

Chazzan Goffin has released two computer mp3 tefillah programs for Davka Software. The first was the highly successful “Be a Baal Tefilla”, which teaches the tefillot for Shabbat in both Ashkenazis and Sefardit, based on the beautiful curriculum of the Belz School. Subsequently, he released “Favorite Nigunim for Shalosh Regalim and Chanukah,” for congregational singing in the synagogue. Both are available at your local seforim store, or at this website,


[Graduate of New Haven Hebrew day School, New Haven, CT; Mesivta Torah Vodaath High School; Yeshiva College, B.A.; Belz School of Jewish Music, Y.U., Cantorial Degree; Credits towards the M.A. in Psychology, City Univ. of New York.]