Talented musician, conductor and teacher of music, Boruch Kaluszyner was born into an orthodox family in Lodz in 1911, the son and grandson of Tallitim (prayer shawl) weavers. Boruch also worked as a weaver and became involved at a young age in the socialist movement of the Bund. But it was through his grandfather that he developed an enduring love of music. By 1931 Boruch was performing in the orchestra of Yiddish Culture and soon became a soloist. His talent became well known in Lodz circles and in due course Boruch was being sought out as a music teacher.
With the outbreak of war, Boruch and his wife escaped from Poland and spent the war years in a labour camp in Russia. Although they both endured great hardships, Boruch never relinquished his love of music. He continued to perform after long days of backbreaking work. In 1946 Boruch returned to Lodz and went to the Conservatorium for three years and became Captain of the Textile Co-operative Orchestra. In 1957 he migrated to Paris.
In 1960 he arrived in Melbourne, where he forged a career as a music teacher, musical arranger, composer and a conductor of Yiddish choirs. He directed the Hazomir Yiddish Choir from 1969-1974. Boruch also became involved in the third seders at Jewish Day Schools and was the organiser of the choirs at the Sholem Aleichem and I.L. Peretz Schools. He taught music to many students and was an accomplished arranger of musical scores for several David Herman Theatre productions. He helped to develop a love and understanding of the key elements of Yiddish Folk songs in his students.
Boruch was married and had one daughter. He was tragically killed in a car accident in 1974.
Sources: Yiddish obituary by Gedaliah Shaiak in The Australian Jewish News 1 Feb 1974; A Celebration of Yiddish published by the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University, 16 October 2004; Arnold Zable, Wanderers and Dreamers: Tales of the David Herman Theatre, Hyland House, Melbourne, 1998.