Cantor Audrey Halpern was called to the pulpit of Temple Beth David in 1988. Prior to accepting this position, she served as Cantor/Educator of the Nassau Community Temple in West Hempstead. Cantor Halpern received her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Her love of Judaism, music and psychology led her to the cantorate and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she was a scholarship recipient. She was awarded the Morris Smith Award of Excellence, the A.W. Binder Award of Achievement and the American Conference of Cantors Award for Artistic Talent. She became an invested Cantor and received her Master’s Degree in 1987. Cantor Halpern remains an active alumnus as a selected mentor for incoming students. She has been a guest lecturer at seminars for graduate students at the Hebrew Union College. Cantor Halpern has served on the Executive Board of the American Conference of Cantors and has been a member of the Commission on Synagogue Music. She was selected as a committee member for the 50th Anniversary of the School of Sacred Music and has chaired numerous events for the American Conference of Cantors.
Cantor Halpern’s concert experience is extensive. Her recordings of “Shirei Libeinu” and “When You Believe” are frequently aired on WEVD radio. She has performed as a featured soloist with Columbia University at Merkin Concert Hall and with the R’annana Symphony at the Jerusalem Theatre in Israel. In addition, Cantor Halpern has premiered original Jewish works in Los Angeles and Amsterdam and has been recognized as a resource person for WNYC radio as well as a guest on various programs.
Cantor Halpern’s primary efforts are devoted to her home here at Temple Beth David. From leading Simchat Torah Parades, Israel “trips”, and Passover seders with our students in the Early Childhood Learning Center, to heading our Bar/Bat Mitzvah program, our Cantor is involved with our children. She has created a large and vibrant Junior Choir. Our Cantor initiated our first daytime adult education class. The Cantor’s luncheon discussion group combines friendship, food and laughter with a common love of Jewish thought and study. Our Adult Choir meets with Cantor Halpern and shares a variety of Jewish music which they perform throughout the year.
Our cantor feels a calling as a spiritual leader. She created a healing liturgy and she is dedicated to serving members of the congregation facing special challenges. She officiates at funerals, unveilings, and minyan services, as well as at weddings and baby namings. She spends much of her time and energy counseling the bereaved and visiting the sick. Cantor Halpern and her family have become an integral part of our community and have shared much of their lives with our congregation.