Mordechai Hershman (1888-1940) was born in Chernigov in the Ukraine. Although as a child he showed musical talent at an early age, participating in several synagogue choirs, when his father died when he was six years old his adoptive family did not encourage him to pursue his talent. At age twelve he was adopted by his grandfather, who moved with him to Solovio, where he began receiving formal training from cantor Dorfman. In 1904 he was appointed to the post of hazzan in Zhitomir, but he stayed there only a few months before he was offered a position as assistant hazzan of Vilna. After several years, the principle hazzan died and Hershman took up the position.
During World War I, Hershman was drafted into the Russian army. Legend has it that his commanding officer was so impressed by his tenor voice that he released him from duty. After the war, Hershman returned to his post in Vilna. The community granted him leave to lead the services only two Sabbaths a month so that he could tour and concertize the rest of the time. Hershman appeared throughout Europe, singing both liturgical works and operatic arias.
In 1920, Hershman emigrated to the United States where he was took a position as chief hazzan at the Beth El Temple in Brooklyn, New York, a position he held for ten years. During his time at Beth El Temple and afterwards, he continued to tour throughout America, Europe and Palestine. As was customary of noted hazzanim of the time, Hershman released several records of cantorial and Jewish folk music.
Hershman died in 1940.