Jewish music luminaries Craig Taubman and Julie Silver joined other performers on Sunday, January 22, 2012, to celebrate the legacy of Judaism’s seminal songstress, Debbie Friedman, z”l, in a community event co-sponsored by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health and Temple Isaiah.
Songs of the Spirit: Debbie Friedman Remembered honored the legendary singer with learning, reflection, and song, on the first anniversary of her death.
The free, hour-long program included remarks by Friedman’s family and teaching by Rabbis William Cutter and Richard Levy, faculty at HUC-JIR. Performers included Temple Isaiah Cantor Evan Kent; Cantor Linda Kates and Rabbi Ken Chasen, of Leo Baeck Temple; and the Temple Isaiah choir, HaSharim.
A world-renowned folk songwriter and performer, Friedman joined HUC-JIR in July 2007 as Instructor in Music at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, which was renamed in her honor on December 7, 2011. Her teaching included “Music as Midrash,” a course exploring the spiritual core of Jewish texts as a source for songs, sermons, and study. Her 19 album recordings include many songs that have become so much a part of many synagogues’ liturgy as to be considered “traditional.” Friedman died January 9, 2011.
“Debbie Friedman was a critical member of the founding Kalsman Partners, who helped launch the entire Kalsman Institute,” said Michele Prince, Director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health. “At the 2005 Kalsman Partner Gathering, Debbie received HUC-JIR’s Sherut L’Am award in recognition of her contributions to the Jewish healing community. More importantly, she was a dear friend to founding director, Bill Cutter, and to me. We mourn her presence and partnership on the HUC-JIR/LA campus, where her work had just begun to blossom in the fall term last year.”
Click here to enjoy the recording of Songs of the Spirit: Debbie Friedman Remembered.