Rabbi Frank Varon, Hazzan of SBH
Rabbi Frank Varon, Hazzan of SBH, was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Even as a child, his musical talents as a tenor were recognized through his frequent participation in prayer services at the synagogue of his youth, Congregation Sephardic Bikur Holim.
Rabbi Varon began his career as Hazzan for the Sephardic Jewish Center of Canarsie in Brooklyn and later, with the Sephardic Congregation of Adath Yeshurun in Kew Gardens. At only 21 years of age, he had the distinction of being one of the youngest cantors to be professionally retained by a major Sephardic congregation within the United States. Rabbi Varon holds a Masters Degree in Education from Long Island University where he graduated with Honors. He was trained in the Sephardic musical mode, or maqam, under the instruction of the Turkish-born Hazzan, Rev. Samuel Benaroya. He subsequently received Rabbinical Ordination from Medrash Sephardi in Jerusalem, Israel.
In 1997, Rabbi Varon released Mi Alma, a repertoire of popular Ladino Romanzas on CD, which has been distributed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Israel. The performance of these selections has been reviewed as moving renditions of Sephardic folklore tunes that preserves the music’s rich tradition and at the same time appeals to listeners of today. Rabbi Varon has engineered several original adaptations from the Ladino music into the liturgy of the synagogue as an enhancement for public prayer. As a result of his special attention to the Judeo-Spanish style of Hazzanut, his performances of Ladino Music and his interpretations of liturgical renditions have been well received by his devoted listeners.
Rabbi Frank Varon is often invited to sing at, and perform weddings and other lifecycle events as he has done in the New York area, Los Angeles, and at Israel’s Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, and of course, in Seattle.
Rabbi Varon and his wife, Rena, live in Seattle, where he has served as the Hazzan of Congregation Sephardic Bikur Holim for the past twenty years.