NEW YORK – American Jewish singer and songwriter Debbie Friedman, who changed the voice of American Jewish spirituality and prayer, died Sunday in a hospital in Orange County, California, sources from the Union for Reform Judaism confirmed. Friedman had been hospitalized with pneumonia.
Friedman started writing Jewish liturgical music as a group songleader at the Union for Reform Judaism’s Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute summer camp in the early 1970s, setting ancient texts to modern, accessible, singable melodies. She published more than 19 albums of music inspired by American folk music greats, using English and Hebrew lyrics and often, the simple accompaniment of a guitar.
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