Mark Biddelman led Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley in prayer, song and study for 48 years, 1967 to 2015.
A New Jersey native, he has been conducting services and singing for Jewish organizations since the age of seven. He attended Carnegie Institute of Technology and is a graduate of the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion School of Sacred Music from which he received his Investiture, Cantorial Certification and Bachelor of Sacred Music degree. The college also awarded him the degree of Doctor of Music honorous causum. Cantor Biddelman is certified as a Hebrew school and music teacher by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the New York Federation of Synagogues.
Throughout the years, Cantor Biddelman has been a musical innovator and has composed numerous musical settings for the Shabbat prayers. In 1971 he composed the first folk-rock service for Shabbat Eve ever to be performed in a Conservative synagogue. Music from this service has become part of the contemporary Jewish Synagogue liturgical repertoire and is being sung in synagogues throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 1991 he composed another setting for the Friday eve service scored for electronic instruments. In addition, he has written other original compositions of Jewish content and his settings of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah blessings were published in the official Life Cycle Handbook of the American Conference of Cantors.
Cantor Biddelman has appeared as guest cantor at congregations throughout the metropolitan area, conducted services in Israel and appeared on radio and TV. He has also been the recipient of several awards including B’nai B’rith Man of the Year in 1990 and the Israel Bonds Sh’ma Yisrael Award in 1988. In 1994 he was inducted as an honorary Fellow of the Jewish Theological Seminary and in 2022 he received the degree of Doctor of Music honorous causum from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is a past Executive Vice President, President, Vice President and Secretary of the New Jersey region of the Cantors Assembly, and has served as a conductor of the New Jersey Cantors Choral Ensemble, the world’s very first choir of both men and women cantors.
During his tenure at Temple Emanuel, Cantor Biddelman has prepared over 2,000 youngsters for Bar and Bat Mitzvah and prepared dozens of children and adults to conduct daily and High Holiday services. He continues to present concerts and programs and conducts services for senior citizens at facilities throughout northern New Jersey. Cantor Biddelman and his wife Bette, a craftswoman, are active members of the Jewish community and the community at large. His daughter Terra, also a craftswoman, and his grandson Elijah live in Austin, Texas.