Cantor Jack Korbman of Adath Shalom is retiring after 30 years at the Morris Plains synagogue. To mark the occasion, actor Jason Alexander recorded a video tribute for the tutor who saw him through bar mitzva preparations at Ahavath Achim Bikur Cholim congregation in Irvington, NJ in the 1970s. The future “Seinfeld” star grew up in Livingston.
“Yes, it is true,” Alexander says in the video. “Jack Korbman is the man who taught George Costanza the Shma.”
Korbman, 79, grew up in Newark, son of a cantor/rabbi/shohet with three generations of cantors before him. He spent 34 years as a teacher and then administrator in the Newark public schools before turning to the cantorate full-time.
He was lured to Adath Shalom in 1985 when it was still in Boonton and called Temple Beth Shalom. “One thing I learned many years ago is that the more pleasant you make [bar mitzva lessons] the more they will come,” Korbman told NJJN. “Most cantors are trained as cantors. They can teach trope and prayers, but engaging students — I don’t think they’ve learned this. I view every child as my own, and I think they pick up on that.”