Monday, July 16, 2007

Debbie Freedman Goes Mainstream


Its more of an acknowledgment of what has already happened than the wave of the future, but nevertheless it was gratifying to see that folk/rock liturgical composer Debbie Freedman has been appointed to the faculty of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's School of Sacred Music in New York.

It has taken over 30 years for Freedman to gain this stature, though her music has infiltrated not only new age Havurot, but very many Reconstuctionist, Reform and even Conservative synagogues. Opera style, virtuoso cantorial performances may still be appropriate for Kol Nidrei, but most modern shul goers - myself included - want simpler melodies and music that we can sung along to when so moved. Freedman has provided these for 30 years, and its good to see her and her musical style and the modern do-it-yourself Judaism it represents finally being acknowledged by a major Jewish institution.

For more see this article by the JTA.

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