Jewish music

My Dinner With Johnny (Mathis)

02/22/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Last week I had dinner with Johnny Mathis.

That’s right, Johnny Mathis. The third best-selling recording artist of all time, whose open-hearted, sultry voice animated our car rides to Lake Tahoe when I was 10, the eight-track cassette seemingly invented just so my sister and I could say, yet again, “Go back to ‘Chances Are’!”

Johnny Mathis

Reform Cantorial School Named After Debbie Friedman

01/28/2011

(JTA) -- The Reform movement’s cantorial school has been named after the late Debbie Friedman.

Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, made the announcement Jan. 27 in New York at a memorial tribute to Friedman, who died Jan. 9 at 59.

Friends of the late singer-songwriter have made possible an endowment to the school, which will henceforth be known as The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, Ellenson said.

My Memories Of Debbie Friedman, And Her Memorable Words

01/12/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

I wish Debbie Friedman had been alive to hear what was said about her at her funeral.

A similar thought occurs to me when I attend other people's funerals but never did I feel it so acutely as I did this past Tuesday as I watched the live-streaming of Debbie's memorial service on-line along with seven thousand other people who, like me, were singing and crying at their desks, on their iPhones, in their living rooms, and sending messages to each other simultaneously of sorrow, comfort, and gratitude for her life.

The Healing Of Debbie Friedman

Beloved singer, writer, musical game-changer dies at 59.

01/11/2011
Associate Editor

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.

Beloved singer, songwriter Debbie Friedman

Remembering Debbie Friedman

01/10/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

To the many thousands of words of tribute that have been written about Debbie Friedman this week as the Jewish world mourns her untimely death, I humbly add these few…

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

A Last Remembrance Of Debbie Friedman

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.

Debbie Friedman, Jewish Songwriter and Performer, Dies

01/09/2011

(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."

Singer Debbie Friedman Hospitalized

01/07/2011

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.

The Year Of The Woman

From Yiddish tunes to alt-rock to Sephardic rhythms, female performers dominated this year.

12/28/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

This was a year in which recorded Jewish music seems to have been dominated by women. Certainly the CDs that have stayed with me the longest in 2010 are the work of some tremendously talented female singers, songwriters, composers and instrumentalists. So here’s a list of some recordings that have haunted me and delighted me since the first time I heard them. Not exactly a top 10 list, but not a bad yardstick to go by.

 Judith Berkson: “Oylam” (ECM)

Clare Burson's Holocaust-themed album, "Silver and Ash," made a major impact in the pop world.

The Music Of Change

As Greg Wall adapts to new demographics at his shul, its second annual Radical Jewish Music Festival is on tap.

12/21/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

It hasn’t been what he expected. Which suits Rabbi Greg Wall just fine, thank you.

Rabbi and tenor saxophonist Greg Wall
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