Sunday, January 9, 2011

Farewell, dear Debbie Friedman

Sad news to share tonight.  Debbie Friedman, Jewish singer-composer extraordinaire, passed away today in Orange County.

May God comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Ha-Makom y'nachem et'chem b'toch sha'ar aveilei Tzion v'Yerushalayim.

Anyone who ever attended JCC summer camp or any Reform/Conservative service for anything will have come across a Debbie Friedman composition.  She had a wonderful way of writing music to Jewish writings that really elevated the spirituality of the prayer, with a definite hook that made the song catchy.  (Now cue the "Hamotzi" blessing we all used to say at lunchtime at camp.)  (As an example, check out the Latke Song video here.)

No, her target audience wasn't the Orthodox stream - but that's ok.  She made Jewish prayer and spirituality accesible to all and reminded us what a little bit of creativity can do to jazz things up a bit.

You can read more about Debbie Friedman and her passing here.

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