Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, awarded Cantor Debra Stein with the Doctor of Music at Graduation Ceremonies in New York on Thursday, May 5, 2011, at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. Cantor Stein was honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumna of HUC-JIR.
Cantor Debra Stein has served The Jewish Center of the Hamptons since her graduation from The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR, where she became the congregation's first Cantor/Educator. Presently, she serves the congregation as their esteemed Cantor. As part of community outreach, Cantor Stein meets with the Clericus of East Hampton, the organization of local clergy, and participates in ecumenical services. In 2010, Cantor Stein helped to open a homeless shelter at the Jewish Center of the Hamptons, making the Jewish Center the first synagogue on the East End to participate in housing the homeless through Maureen's Haven, an outreach program to the homeless on the East End of Long Island.
Cantor Stein has performed converts of both liturgical and secular music throughout the country, as well as in England, Scotland, Wales, and Israel. She was among the first cantors to sing at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, and sang at the Curacao Synagogue's 300th anniversary commemoration. In 2010, Cantor Stein made history in a concert which bridged the Orthodox and Reform worlds by having sung with an Othodox cantor in her congregation.
A former member of the faculty of The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR, she taught graduate seminars on professional development and worked with senior students in preparation for their pulpits. A past Board member of the American Conference of Cantors, she has served on many committees.
Cantor Stein resides in East Hampton with her husband, Alec Hirschfeld, and her daughter, Jordana Davidson.
Click here to view the National Ordination/Investiture/Graduation press release.