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.
(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.
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Her grandparents — “cultural” Jews on one side of the family, more traditional on the other — came to the United States from the Old Country a century ago and didn’t change their level of religious observance (or non-observance) during their lives. Their spiritual lives were a straight line.
Her parents, newly married, moved to Westchester County in the early 1970s, joined a Reform temple and never left it. Their spiritual lives were also a straight line.
One of the enduring images of Hurricane Katrina for the Jewish community of New Orleans, and well beyond, was of a kipah-wearing rescue worker, in waist-high water, carrying one of seven Torahs out of the sanctuary of the century-old Orthodox congregation, Beth Israel.
The Torahs did not make it; water-logged beyond repair, they ultimately were buried in the synagogue’s cemetery, along with 3,000 prayer books.
The East Bank of the East River is where I’ve lived for the past twenty years, in a territory known as Brooklyn, which began as Native American land and was then settled by the Dutch. George Washington and his troops beat a hasty retreat from the British in the park where I run. It is now among the most sought after places to live in New York City.
With the renewed seasonal outbreak of the Reform-Orthodox wars, I cannot see myself as a mere bystander, inasmuch as the letter by Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar, is addressed to me, as an official town rabbi. (See).