Limmud NY Notes: Debbie Friedman and the Reform Jews

I went to Limmud NY 2011 and wrote a lot of posts about it. Here’s a guide to them.

During Havdalah at Limmud NY this year, there was a brief mention of the recent loss of Debbie Friedman. The tunes included Friedman’s famous Havdalah (if you don’t think you know it, think of the Havdalah tune–the misinai one!), Noam Katz’s terrific “Layehudim” and some original work by the folks leading, which included Darshan–Shir Yaakov and Eprhyme.

Reform rabbinical student Marc Katz pointed out something interesting to me in the middle of Havdalah: Despite the generally small presence of Reform Jews at Limmud NY (which is a whole topic for a whole other post that I’m not gonna write right now), the music during Havdalah and the entire musical style in which Havdalah was conducted was created by Reform Jews–Friedman in particular.

And after Havdalah itself was done, the event turned into what might as well have been song session at a NFTY event or at a Reform summer camp. I suppose people who grew up in other Jewish youth movements may have thought something similar to themselves about the movement they grew up in, but it was interesting nonetheless.

It was the first time I really felt anything about the loss of Debbie Friedman.

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3 Responses to Limmud NY Notes: Debbie Friedman and the Reform Jews

  1. BZ January 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    Debbie Friedman got a number of other shouts-out throughout the weekend, including several of her songs (including Devorah’s Song, for the haftarah) featured at the Shabbat morning “Reform” service (when did Limmud NY change the rule about not using names of denominations in the names of services???), the Saturday night “Unfire” transformed into a DF tribute, the Saturday night Lights Ignite Change concert ending with Miriam’s Song, the Sunday musical mincha/ma’ariv featuring several DF songs, and the Sunday night variety show ending with Chana Rothman teaching O Sing Praises (a DF song known more to the die-hard fans).


  1. Index to the 13 Limmud NY Notes posts | The Reform Shuckle - January 18, 2011

    […] Debbie Friedman and the Reform Jews is about Havdalah at Limmud NY 2011, the lack of Reform Jews at Limmud NY and the music of Debbie Friedman. […]