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Debbie Friedman

Light These Lights

Light These Lights (2004)

Deborah Lynn Friedman (February 23, 1951 – January 9, 2011) was an American singer-songwriter of Jewish religious songs and melodies. She is best known for her setting of "Mi Shebeirach", the prayer for healing, which is used by hundreds of congregations across America. Her songs are used by some Orthodox Jewish congregations, as well as non-Orthodox Jewish congregations. Friedman was a feminist, and Orthodox Jewish feminist Blu Greenberg noted that while Friedman’s music impacted most on Reform and Conservative liturgy, "she had a large impact [in] Modern Orthodox shuls, women’s tefillah [prayer], the Orthodox feminist circles.... She was a religious bard and angel for the entire community." Friedman was an early pioneer of gender-sensitive language, using the feminine forms of the Divine or altering masculine-only text references. According to Cantor Harold Messinger of Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley, Pa., “Debbie was the first, and every contemporary hazzan, song leader, and layperson who values these concepts is in her debt.”