Cantor Rebecca Garfein, mezzo-soprano, is the Senior Cantor of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City, and is the first female Cantor ever to hold this position. Cantor Garfein has appeared in numerous recitals throughout the United States, Israel, and Europe.
In 1997, Cantor Garfein was invited to participate in the Jewish Cultural Festival in Berlin, Germany and was the first female Cantor to give a solo concert in the same city her grandfather of blessed memory fled. At the 1998 Berlin Jewish Cultural Festival, she became the first female Cantor to preside in a German synagogue, and released a CD of the live recording of the 1997 Berlin concert, “Sacred Chants of the Contemporary Synagogue.”
On November 10, 2005 at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York, Cantor Garfein presented the concert and historic CD debut of “Golden Chants in America…Commemorating 350 years of Jewish Music, 1654-2004,” Including music from the Spanish-Portuguese Jews, the synagogue and the Yiddish and Broadway theater, the CD is the first U.S. recording to feature Jewish music spanning 350 years of life in America.
Cantor Garfein is also a featured soloist on two recordings from the Sacred Music Press, Celebrating the Past and Present, honoring the 50th anniversary of the School of Sacred Music, 1999, and Kol Sasson Kol Simcha, a commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 2001.
A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Cantor Garfein has been a featured soloist with the Ra’a’na’na Orchestra and the Zamir Chorale at the Jerusalem Theater in Israel and in 2001 was a soloist at the 350th anniversary concert of the Curacao Jewish Community.
Cantor Garfein made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2005 with Mandy Patinkin in a benefit concert for the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater. In 2003, Cantor Garfein made her debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in a concert celebrating the release of Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s book, “Musically Speaking.” She has been a participant in the opera program at DiCapo Opera in New York City and at the Aspen Music Festival and in the vocal program at the Tanglewood Institute.
Cantor Garfein made her Town Hall Debut with Neil Sedaka and Jay Black in a benefit concert for the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre.
Cantor Garfein has also appeared as a soloist in New York City with Master Voices under the direction of Ted Sperling with soloist, Victoria Clark.
Cantor Garfein graduated cum laude from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music with a degree in vocal performance and opera. In 1993, she received her Master’s Degree in Sacred Music and Cantorial Ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR).