One of Debbie Friedman’s most beautiful songs, “Lechi Lach,” reflects God’s telling Abraham and Sarah to go to “a place you do not know.” In her way, Ms. Friedman — Dina Leah bat Freydl v’Gavriel — did that for the rest of us, taking us to a spiritual place that few could have imagined, either as individuals or as a community.
She did it not only as a composer and singer but as a presence, a guide, a friend.
Beloved singer, writer, musical game-changer dies at 59.
To a broken generation, Debbie Friedman delivered a mystical truth: You don’t have to be cured to be healed.
She, who suffered for so long from elusive, debilitating neurological illnesses that finally took her life Sunday after 59 years, understood, with humor and faith, that she was singing and writing with one foot in Heaven and the other on a banana peel. It was as if from Heaven, however, that her most ethereal music seemed to come, transforming not only lives but whole denominations.
NEW YORK (JTA) -- Just hours after Debbie Friedman’s death, more than 400 people turned out for a memorial service for the popular songwriter who is widely credited with reinvigorating synagogue music.
Friedman's funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, near Los Angeles.
The memorial event, held Sunday night at the JCC in Manhattan, had been slated originally as a healing service to offer prayers for Friedman, who was hospitalized in Southern California for several days with pneumonia.
Yes, I know there is nothing explicitly “in the mix”-y about Debbie Friedman, but amid all the obituaries and tributes flooding in for the singer-songwriter, I’m feeling sad.
Not only about her untimely death before her 60th birthday (on a horrible weekend that also featured the horrific Arizona shooting), but also because I (and my daughters, who I think would have loved her) did not fully appreciate Friedman while she was alive and never had a chance to hear her perform.
I last saw Debbie Friedman two weeks ago at LimmudUK, where we had a brief but warm conversation, telling each other that if not for scheduling conflicts, we would have enjoyed attending each other’s presentations.
In my case it was certainly true, as I always found Debbie’s performances inspiring. Not just her voice, the lyrics and the message, but the quality of the shared experience with her loving audiences. The goodwill and sense of the spirit in her was palpable.
(JTA) -- Debbie Friedman, a popular singer and songwriter who is widely credited with reinvigorating synagogue music, has died.
Friedman died Sunday after being hospitalized in Southern California for several days with pneumonia. She was in her late 50s.
"Debbie influenced and enriched contemporary Jewish music in a profound way," read a statement published Sunday on the website of the Union for Reform Judaism. "Her music crossed generational and denominational lines and carved a powerful legacy of authentic Jewish spirituality into our daily lives."
NEW YORK (JTA) -- Songwriter Debbie Friedman has been hospitalized in Orange County, Calif.
Friedman is sedated and on a respirator, according to an email sent Wednesday from the West Coast branch of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. A source at the college told JTA Thursday there had been no change in Friedman's condition.
The email asked that prayers be said on Friedman's behalf, as well as for her mother, sister and aunt.
Though her music has long been part of worship services at Reform synagogues and she has been embraced by camp song leaders, Debbie Friedman has often felt disdained by many of the movement’s more “serious” music mavens, like the cantors.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.