Cantor Debbie Hafetz
Cantor Debbie is thrilled to return to Congregation Kol Tikvah after serving for the past 9 years as the Cantor at Ramat Shalom in Plantation, Florida. Her Jewish journey has been inspired by her strong Jewish training and education. For many years, she was mentored by her childhood Cantor, Benjamin Klonsky z”l, who was a fourth generation Eastern European Cantor at her hometown synagogue in Reading, Pennsylvania. From Cantor Klonsky, Cantor Debbie learned how to daven (lead prayer services), chant Torah and Haftarah and inspire a congregation. As a result of her involvement in synagogue life, love of Jewish music and her passion for Israel, Cantor Debbie made the decision to expand her Jewish knowledge and pursue a career within the Jewish community.
Cantor Debbie earned her BA in Judaic Studies from Wesleyan University (which included a semester in Jerusalem) and her MA in Jewish Educational Leadership from Brandeis University. She has been blessed to study with and learn from many Cantors and Cantorial Soloists, including Cantor Klonsky; Ramat Shalom’s, Cantorial Soloist Bella Bogart; Cantor William Hauben at Rodeph Shalom in Tampa; Rabbi/Cantor Julie Jacobs at Beth David in Miami; and Cantor Malcolm Arnold at Kol Tikvah in Parkland. Cantor Debbie has also networked with some of Judaism’s most prominent contemporary musicians and vocalists including: Rick Recht, the founder of Jewish Rock Radio and Songleader Boot Camp; Julie Silver whose music is embraced nationally by the Union for Reform Judaism and globally by the World Union of Progressive Judaism; and Josh Nelson, the renowned Musical Director of the URJ Biennial Conventions. One of Cantor Debbie’s most important musical influences was the late Debbie Friedman z”l with whom she shared a close relationship. Debbie Friedman’s Mishebeirach, L’chi Lach and other well-known prayers/songs have been a part of congregational liturgies across the globe for decades. Cantor Debbie’s most prominent musical influence is her husband, Harold, with whom she often composes, produces and arranges music. Harold also serves as Cantor Debbie’s accompanist.
Cantor Debbie’s academic and musical training, her Jewish ritual knowledge and her musical gifts have made her a truly exceptional Cantorial and Jewish Educator. For more than three decades, Cantor Debbie’s voice and wisdom have been inspiring synagogue communities. Her professional experience includes having served as the Director of Education and Youth at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Tampa, the Cantorial Soloist at Etz Chayim in Fort Lauderdale, the Cantor/Educator at Temple Beth El in Hollywood, the Director of Lifelong Learning at Kol Tikvah in Parkland where she also served as a Cantorial Soloist, leading services, overseeing the B’nai Mitzvah program, teaching Torah, music and prayer to religious school students and conducting life cycle events, and as Cantor at Ramat Shalom in Plantation. Cantor Debbie is a powerful voice in American Jewish music. Her incredible ability to incorporate Jewish wisdom and teachings into her music has been inspiring individuals and communities in South Florida and across the country.
As a member of Lev Orah, a Jewish musical group, she performed original contemporary Jewish music for audiences across the United States, releasing two CD’s, You Make Me Strong and 100 Blessings. Cantor Debbie and her husband of 22 years, Harold Price, created another Jewish musical group, Ahava, and released a CD, By The Power of You: Inspirations. Cantor Debbie is the proud mom of Benji, bonus sons Michael, David and Rick, daughters-in-law Amanda and Sandrine, and the ecstatic grandmother of Isaac and Eryn.