Women of the Wall mourn the passing of Debbie Friedman z”l – songwriter, performer, teacher, and visionary. For the past 35 years, Debbie’s music touched the hearts, souls, and minds of Jews – young and old, male and female, religious and secular – all over the world.
Debbie Friedman was a strong feminist and supporter of Women of the Wall. In “A Journey of Spirit,” a documentary about her life, she powerfully stated:
“It was kol isha (the voice of women) for col isha (every woman) that inspired me to write inclusive music. It is beneficial not only for women, but for men and children as well. Singing helps us learn how to be vocal. Ultimately, the voices of women, their sense of empowerment, can be borne from song, which can form the core of political, spiritual, and economic transformation. The more our voices are heard in song, the more we become our lyrics, our prayers, and our convictions. Then every woman will be heard, and every voice will be heard: kol isha for col isha.”
One of Debbie’s famous songs was entitled “Miriam’s Song.” This song celebrates how Miriam the Prophetess led the Israelite women in dance, song, and prayer at the Splitting of the Sea. This Biblical scene is an inspiration for the contemporary work of Women of the Wall. Like Women of the Wall, Debbie strived to bring women’s voices into Jewish life. Her voice will be missed terribly but will continue to encourage and enlighten us.