Debbie Friedman, Who Rewrote Jewish Prayers For A New Generation, Has Died : The Record Friedman's versions of traditional prayers were sung in synagogues around the world.
NPR logo

Debbie Friedman, Who Rewrote Jewish Prayers For A New Generation, Has Died

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/132810669/132812006" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Debbie Friedman, Who Rewrote Jewish Prayers For A New Generation, Has Died

Debbie Friedman, Who Rewrote Jewish Prayers For A New Generation, Has Died

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/132810669/132812006" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

It's by Debbie Friedman who died yesterday at age 59. This is a recording of Debbie Friedman, whose melodies have re-shaped the sound of Jewish worship in Reform, Conservative and Re-constructionist synagogues.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MI SHEBERACH")

DEBBIE FRIEDMAN: (Singing foreign language). May the source of strength who bless the ones before us help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing, and let us say amen.

SIEGEL: I interviewed Debbie Friedman on this program back in 1997, a few days before one of her Carnegie Hall concerts. I asked her about this prayer for healing that would have sounded so out of place in a Reform temple, say, 50 years ago.

FRIEDMAN: And I think that the greatest breakthrough that has happened in these past maybe 20, 25 years, is that those walls are crumbling, that people have found now that we need to be integrated human beings that both know and think and also feel.

SIEGEL: And for a generation of American Jews, the music that evoked feeling was often the music of Debbie Friedman. She died in Orange County, California, of complications from pneumonia.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.