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October 4, 2015 | 21st Tishrei 5776
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Reform Movement Mourns the Passing of Debbie Friedman (z"l)

The Union for Reform Judaism mourns the passing of Debbie Friedman (z”l), legendary performer, composer, recording artist, teacher and passionate Jewish visionary. Debbie influenced and enriched contemporary Jewish music in a profound way. Her music crossed generational and denominational lines and carved a powerful legacy of authentic Jewish spirituality into our daily lives.

During her illustrious 35-year career, Debbie released over 20 albums and performed in sold out concerts around the world at synagogues, churches, schools and prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall. She received dozens of awards and was lauded by critics worldwide. The Los Angeles Times hailed her “'one of the foremost figures in contemporary Jewish music” and The New York Times declared, “Debbie Friedman has created a powerful and euphoric body of work.”

“By creating a whole new genre of Jewish music, Debbie was able to reintroduce authentic Jewish spirituality,” said Rabbi Daniel Freedlander, vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism. “She wrote melodies that spoke to us, spoke to our intellect, spoke to our emotions.”

URJ President Rabbi Eric Yoffie noted that "Debbie Friedman was an extraordinary treasure of our Movement and an individual of great influence. Twenty-five years ago, North American Jews had forgotten how to sing. Debbie reminded us how to sing, she taught us how to sing. She gave us the vehicles that enabled us to sing. Then she impacted our youth and our camps and, ultimately, from there she impacted our synagogues. What happens in the synagogues of Reform Judaism today -- the voices of song -- are in large measure due to the insight, brilliance and influence of Debbie Friedman.

While Debbie’s passing will be mourned by millions of followers, her music will fill the hearts of Jews for generations to come. May Debbie’s memory be for a blessing and may her family and friends be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.


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