Former Omahan Raphael (Ray) Edgar passed away on Sept. 12 at age 82. Services were held Sept. 18 at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis, IN. The burial followed in Beth-El Zedeck North Cemetery.
He is survived by his children: Barry Edgar of Lake Villa, IL, Orna Edgar of Redmond, WA, and Daphna Edgar of Medford, MA; sister Laya Frischer of Evanston, IL; and four grandchildren: David, Aaron, and Crystal Edgar, and Tahlia Edgar-Chalker.
He was born in Des Moines, IA on May 28, 1932. From his father, Cantor Aaron I. Edgar, he absorbed a lifelong love of operative singing and Jewish music. From his mother, Ann Ziff Edgar, he learned the values of family solidarity and loyalty. These would be the pillars of his long and fulfilling life. He loved the human voice, especially in its highest forms: operatic arias and ensembles, and Cantorial chants of the highest caliber.
He grew up in Omaha, graduating from Omaha Central High School in 1949. He continued his education in Chicago, IL, at Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Music, specializing in vocal performance. He went on to graduate studies at the Cantor’s Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, where he received a Master’s of Sacred Music and a diploma of Hazzan (Cantor). He was also the recipient of a Master’s degree in Linguistics from American University in Washington, D.C.
He began his professional career in Washington, D.C. as Cantor and Musical Director of Adas Israel Congregation, where he served until 1972. This was followed by Cantorial positions in Buffalo, NY, Chicago, IL, and Indianapolis, IN.
Memorials may be made to Beth El Zedeck Congregation, the Santa Fe Opera, and the Jewish World Service.