On December 9, 2020, Cantor Donn Roger Rosensweig passed away in his sleep at the age of 74 from lung cancer. Born into a close family in Kingston, PA, the son of Dr. William and Lois Levy Rosensweig, he grew up singing – around the piano at family gatherings, in synagogue, eventually forming a folk music trio in high school and going on to perform in many musicals throughout college and his later life. After graduating from Hobart College in 1968, Donn received earned his Master of Arts in Teaching from Oberlin College, where he met Ruth Adler, whom he later married and with whom he had his beloved sons Matthew and Daniel. After stints as a teacher, chef and actor, Donn completed his cantorial education at Hebrew Union College in Manhattan. He worked as a cantor in New Jersey, then moved to Andover, MA, where he was Cantor for Temple Emanuel for almost twenty-five years. In 2010, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music from Hebrew Union College to commemorate his service. Donn was also extremely committed to supporting the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation and received a special tribute from them in 2005. He touched so many lives as an educator at the synagogue, developing close relationships with his students of all ages while preparing them for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, in addition to leading the choir and performing rites.
Following his retirement, Donn turned his attention back to secular singing and acting, performing with Acting Out Theatre Company, Spotlight Playhouse and the Andover Choral Society. Roles with special meaning for Donn include playing “Morrie” in “Tuesdays with Morrie,” and Littlechap in “Stop the World I Want to Get Off.” He was especially moved when he sang the Verdi Requiem with the Berkshire Choral Festival in Prague at the site of the Terezin concentration camp. He also volunteered to lead services regularly at Atria Marland Place in Andover.
Besides his passion for music, Donn loved baseball. He was a diehard Brooklyn Dodgers fan who eventually transferred his support to the Boston Red Sox. He also had wonderful memories of summers as a child at Kamp Kewanee in Pennsylvania and kept up those early friendships by continuing to go to reunions as late as 2019. He loved hiking with friends and family, particularly favoring a loop trail on Mounts Welch and Dickey in New Hampshire. Above all, Donn loved his family, both immediate and extended. He tried to attend as many of the celebrations and holiday gatherings as he could.
Donn is loved and will be sorely missed by his sons Matthew and his wife Melissa Dallon, and Daniel and his fiancée Janine Gilkes, siblings Nancey, Larry and Rick Rosensweig, sisters-in-law Nora and Diane, brother-in-law Dan Arshack, numerous Levy and Rosensweig cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as the Adler family.
Donations in Donn’s memory can be made to the Sig Adler Lung Cancer Research Fund at Mass General Hospital https://because.massgeneral.org/sigadlerfund or the charity of your choice.