Cantor Larry I. Brandspiegel has blessed Beth El Synagogue with his voice, his educational guidance, his leadership and his humor since joining the Beth El community in August of 2000. He always had a love for synagogue and Jewish music. His melodic voice and musical interpretation has brought unity and a sense of spiritual high to the services, moving toward a feeling of closeness to God.
Inspired by his grandfather, Harry Puter, and Chazzan Gabriel Berkowitz, who taught him for his bar mitzvah, Cantor Brandspiegel developed the ability to reach the hearts of the congregation in prayer. Recently, he has drawn great inspiration from the guidance and mentorship of Chazzan Daniel Gildar.
While music itself is an important aspect of the liturgy, Cantor Brandspiegel’s grasp of the Nusach (melody) enables him to articulate the meaning of the words through the music, and place just the right amount of kavanah (emotion) behind it. He has written a number of melodies that have been used by others during services, both at Beth El and other congregations.
Cantor Brandspiegel has been instrumental in the growth of the Shabbat service, which includes the addition of a Junior Choir. Under his leadership, more congregants are leading services, and interest in reading Torah by adults and teenagers has grown. Cantor Brandspiegel’s classes on Torah trope, rituals, and learning how to lead a service continue to benefit all those wishing to participate as leaders, rather than just participate as congregants.
Cantor Brandspiegel’s forte is his education of Beth El’s youth. Along with his Cantorial duties, Cantor Larry (as he is known to the kids) serves as the Education Director of the Religious School. His vision and pride in his personal connection to Judaism, and the humor he uses in his discussions, allow him to inspire and guide the younger generation.
One of the greatest satisfactions he gets from the school and the future generation is watching the growing number of teenagers who lead services and read Torah on Shabbat and holidays. He is particularly grateful to see an increase of over 110% in participation in the Hebrew High School program since he started at Beth El.
Before coming to Beth El Synagogue, Cantor Brandspiegel served as Cantor and Director of Education for Temple Sholom in Philadelphia, PA for five years. During his tenure, the congregation grew and flourished.
Cantor Brandspiegel’s love and passion for Judaism continues to influence many congregants. His warmth in welcoming Beth El congregants and their families is a reflection of the “haimish” spirit (Jewish warmth) that the clergy has brought to Beth El Synagogue.
Cantor Brandspiegel, his wife, Laura, and his three children, Samantha, Heather, and Jeremy, have found a home in East Windsor, and an extended family at Beth El Synagogue.
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