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Michael Amdurer - Adir Hu

Adir Hu
Chad Gadya


Michael & Pamela Amdurer“These tunes came from my father Mark Amdurer who learned them from my grandfather.

My grandfather and his brother, my great-uncle, came to Britain, just before the First World War, from Tiberius, which was then in Palestine. As far as we know the Amdursky family immigrated to Palestine in 1841 from Amdur near Moghilev, in modern day Belarus, which is most probably how we got our name. There are records of a branch of the Amdursky family, almost certainly the same family as the Amdurers, who lived in Jerusalem and were the owners of the well-known Central Hotel situated opposite Migdal David near the Jaffa Gate. When the family moved to west Jerusalem they opened the Hotel Amdursky on Ben Yehuda that was bombed in 1948 in the War of Independence. The most famous of the Amdursky family was the late Benny Amdursky of Doda’im, part of a renowned singing duo in Israel for over 30 years.

Mark AmdurerMy grandfather Harry Amdurer came from Palestine to North Manchester with his older brother David when he was quite a young man. They both died when I was about eight and so I never had a chance to ask them from where their tunes originated.

When my grandfather came to England he went into the clothing industry. He wasn’t all that successful but my great-uncle David became a very prosperous waterproof garment manufacturer. He may have made uniforms for the military but in any case he made a lot of money. He was a well known member of the community and took on the life of the successful Victorian man who’d ‘made it’! He lived in a beautiful house in Southport, the ‘Cannes of the northwest’ and commuted to Manchester to his factory in Cheetham Hill.

My father also had a clothing factory and was in partnership with his brother. He loved to sing and it was from him that I learned our unique Seder tunes.

The Central Hotel in the Old Jerusalem owned by the Amdurer family

I grew up in Manchester, living in a totally Jewish community, and something that intrigued me when we were invited to other people’s Sederim (Passover meals, Hebrew plural), was that we had quite markedly different tunes. In many ways they clashed with the English Ashkenazi tunes and although they were clearly Hebraic they seemed quite foreign to other people, quite nasal, quite Middle Eastern.

I came to London to do my psychiatry training after qualifying in medicine in Cardiff. I married in 1988 and now hold my own Sederim singing these tunes. Actually I think our Chad Gadya tune is the best in the world!”

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