Cantor Deborah Bletstein was born and raised in the Motor City. She received her Bachelor of Music with distinction from Ohio Northern University. In addition to performing with both the opera and musical theater departments, she created the position of lead singer for both of the ONU jazz bands. This led to an opportunity to open for Marvin Hamlisch, z”l, at the Convention Center in Lima, OH. She went on to earn her Master of Music from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh where she sang leading mezzo roles and fronted the CMU jazz band. A member of Actors’ Equity Association, she has performed on off-Broadway and New England summer stock stages and at Walt Disney World’s MGM Studios.
Cantor Bletstein earned cantorial investiture and a Master of Sacred Music from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2007. She has served as a guest hazzan and speaker at numerous congregations throughout the United States, and is sought after as a concert artist for her abilities to seamlessly cross over genres of hazzanut, musical theatre, jazz, pop, rock, and folk–most notably specializing in contemporary and gospel Jewish music. She has co-produced Jewish music concerts in NYC and Israel, as well as her former pulpit at Tifereth Israel in Des Moines, Iowa, where she studied with Cantor Pinchas Spiro, z”l, famous for his notation of traditional nusach (cantorial modes and motifs). Cantor Bletstein moved to Portland in 2010 where she proudly serves Congregation Neveh Shalom, creating many new, exciting musical programs, including a unique Friday Night Live style service called PDX Live! with local band Klezmocracy. Cantor Bletstein is a member of both the Cantors Assembley and the American Conference of Cantors.