Reform Judaism musical icon Debbie Friedman died on Sunday after being hospitalized for several days with pneumonia.
In 1997, the Union for Reform Judaism honored Friedman for her musical contributions, and the URJ on Sunday rereleased this video that had been used to honor her achievements then.
“Debbie Friedman was an extraordinary treasure of our movement, and one of its most influential voices,” said URJ President Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie in a statement earlier today. “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. 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.”
“By creating a whole new genre of Jewish music, Debbie was able to reintroduce authentic Jewish spirituality,” said Rabbi Daniel Freelander, vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism and a long-time friend and fellow songwriter, and a Bergen County resident. “She wrote melodies that spoke to us, spoke to our intellect, spoke to our emotions.”
Many of Friedman’s hits can be found on Youtube.
And perhaps most appropriate, “Mourning into Dancing”