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The Sounds of Debbie Friedman

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It’s with a heavy, but inspired, heart that we bring to you some ideas for incorporating Debbie Friedman’s music into your wedding day.

Why heavy? Debbie Friedman, an American Jewish song writer and performer passed away just a few weeks ago on January 9th. She had been in an Orange County, California hospital suffering complications from pneumonia, and even though Jews around the world held prayer services and song sessions in her honor and desire for recovery, Friedman lost her battle and, momentarily, Jews lost their source of music.

But not for long, because Friedman’s soulful chants and uplifting melodies had been known to bring peace and comfort while she was alive, and it was no different after she died. With the news of her passing, her songs surged the Internet giving new life to those who’d never heard them and reassurance to long-standing fans. For many young Jewish Americans, Friedman’s music was heavily incorporated at Jewish summer camp or Hebrew school programs. I can remember song leaders at Camp Alonim in Brandeis, California connecting me to my heritage at Shabbat services through Friedman’s song book. And fifteen years ago, I could go to several different friends’ bar or bat mitzvah services at different synagogues and still hear the same familiar tunes accompanying a 13-year-old’s very special day of becoming a Jewish adult. At holidays, her music erupts with ruach (spirit) and joy, reminding us why we celebrate year after year.

So, why not take some of Friedman’s songs that speak to the hearts of Jews everywhere and incorporate them in your wedding day? What a great way to keep Friedman’s memory alive and tie in your day to a special and inspiring Jewish American woman.


For processional music or during your ceremony with a beautiful melody and meaning:
L’chi Lach (And You Shall Be A Blessing)
Listen to the song. Read the lyrics.

To remember a loved one who is no longer living to be at your wedding:
Mi Shebeirach
Listen to the song. Read the lyrics.

For uplifting, celebratory recessional music as you being your lives together as husband and wife:
The Journey Song
Listen to the song. Read the lyrics.

For a first dance song or a performance from a friend or relative on the wedding day:
Wedding Song
Listen to the song.

The Wedding YentasTM , A Guide for the Jewish BrideTM, is a wedding planning site that offers tips, explanations of traditions, a vendor directory, and Real Weddings showcasing authentic and professional images for couples planning Jewish weddings. To read more articles and features by The Wedding YentasTM click here!
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One Comment »

  • Dear Yentas,
    Thanks so much for the article on Debbie’s music! She was a legendary inspirationalist that was able to evoke and capture true emotion with her words and melodies. I sing many of her songs at my weddings! But Debbie’s greater contribution to our world of Jewish music was in the hundreds and thousands of other Jewish music composers and singers, who also have contributed many beautiful pieces to the world of worship – and lifecycles. She opened the door for many of us, and today I have a library of hundreds of Jewish contemporary melodies to sing at joyous lifecycle events.

    Today’s worship inspired songs are meaningful and relevant – even to the non Jews in the audience, as they bind us together with their messages of hope and unity. I encourage every couple to look outside the standard inventories of songs, to find music that pays homage to their backgrounds, but inspires these positive messages to all who listen.

    Thanks for the great article about such a special woman!
    Cantor Deb

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