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Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
Annual Report
he chain of Jewish learning is embodied in the
relationships forged at HUC-JIR, where students
are mentored by innovative scholars who are gifted
teachers. The extraordinarily low faculty-to-student
ratio (among the lowest of any university or semi-
nary in the world) means that students receive daily
guidance and support from some of Judaism’s best
minds. This year, two gifted women have joined the
faculty, where they are contributing their expertise
and commitment to the learning community and
helping to transform contemporary understanding
of Jewish text, pedagogy, ritual, and liturgy.
World-renowned folk songwriter and performer
Debbie Friedman
is the newly appointed Instructor
in Music at the School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR/
New York. Friedman’s lyrical interpretations of litur-
gy and biblical verse have reached a generation of
Jews looking to connect to the words of their heritage
through music. A singer, songwriter, and guitarist,
she has recorded 19 albums, including many songs
that have become so much a part of many syna-
gogues’ liturgy as to be considered “traditional.”
Debbie Friedman is inspiring our students through
her creativity and musical talents, helping to guide
their spiritual and leadership development, and pro-
viding them with innovative strategies to transform
congregations into communities of meaning,” says
Rabbi David Ellenson. “She is strengthening HUC-
JIR’s role in the area of worship renewal and revital-
ization in our day.”
It was
kol isha
the voice of women) for
col isha
every woman) that inspired me to write inclusive
music,” explains Debbie Friedman. “It is beneficial
not only for women, but for men and children as
well. Singing helps us learn how to be vocal. The
more our voices are heard in song, the more we
become our lyrics, our prayers, and our convictions.”
Friedman is enriching the fabric of student life by
teaching “Music as Midrash,” a course for rabbinical,
cantorial, and education students that explores the
spiritual core of Jewish texts as a source for songs,
sermons, and study. In addition, she serves as Artist-
in-Residence, coaches cantorial students, and partici-
pates in worship services and other areas of the School
of Sacred Music curriculum. The students in all pro-
New Faculty Enri