HUC-JIR Presents Doctor of Music, honoris causa, to Debra Stein

Friday, April 15, 2011

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.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu