Debbie Friedman

Debbie Friedman’s music transformed prayers for Jews across the movements. Growing up, Friedman often felt disconnected from synagogue prayers, and began using her gifts as a singer and songwriter to blend traditional prayers and biblical passages with English translations and moving folk music to bridge that gap. She wrote many of her early songs while working as a song leader for various Jewish youth camps around the country. Her prayer for healing is used in hundreds of congregations around the country, and many of her songs have become so well known that they are considered “traditional.” Friedman served as cantor at the New Reform Congregation in Los Angeles and directed the music program and annual music workshop at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin throughout her career. In 2007, Friedman accepted an appointment to the faculty of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's School of Sacred Music in New York; the school was renamed in her honor after her death.


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Singer, songwriter, composer, professor, and educator, Debbie Friedman (1951–2011).

Date of Birth

Utica, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Debbie Friedman." (Viewed on June 21, 2021) <>.


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