Top Five Debbie Friedman Songs – A Tribute

January, 11 2011
Latest, Politics

By Alexandra Scarfone

Legendary Jewish folk singer and composer Debbie Friedman, who passed away on Sunday at age 59, was one of the most influential voices in American Jewish music in the last century. In tribute and memory of Friedman, Moment has picked out the top five Debbie Friedman songs from the over 20 albums she wrote throughout her career.

Mi Shebeirach – This prayer for healing is one of Friedman’s most famous songs. It was sung at a prayer service on Sunday for Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and is sung in synagogues and churches nationwide


L’chi Lach – Friedman wrote this song alongside feminist Biblical scholar Savina Teuba for the first Simchat Chochmah, a ritual for becoming an elder. Feminizing God’s command to Abraham “Lech Lecha,” it became a popular ritual song accentuating women’s stories in Jewish history.


The Latke Song –  No Hanukkah could be complete without this Friedman classic, which celebrates the holiday’s little oily darling, the latke, alongside a cornucopia of Jewish foods.


Miriam’s Song –  Miriam’s Song celebrates the elder sister of Moses and Aaron, who represents strong femininity, perseverance, and hope. This song became one of Friedman’s classics, holding a special place for brides and Bat Mitzvah girls.


Aleph Bet Song – Hebrew school students around the world may not realize that the Aleph Bet song they commit to memory was written by Debbie Friedman.  Friedman teaches the Hebrew alphabet by setting it to a playful beat and breaking the alphabet down into easily digestible pieces. The song reached broader audiences on an episode of Barney entitled “Aleph-Bet.”


6 thoughts on “Top Five Debbie Friedman Songs – A Tribute

  1. Debbie Fan says:

    You MUST include a 6th – Im Tirtzu. One of her earliest and most well known tunes. It is a staple at every BBYO, camp, and other teen gatherings.

  2. Marthajoy Aft says:

    Smiling through tears. Thank you. Marthajoy

  3. Sara Stone says:

    I can’t imagine chosing just a few Debbie Friedman songs to be deemed Top Five ( ten, twenty,etc) I was in NFTY in late 60’s early 70’s and her music was a constant presence. I play her CDs often and never tire of them. Her music will live on…….

    1. Mike says:

      Might you have a suggestion for Rosh Chodesh Hallel ?

      Other than Birchot Havdallah, I can’t think of anything


  4. Revenn Edelstein says:

    Shalom, My husband and I are members of Temple Beth Shalom located in Sun City Az. Our Cantor and his wife direct our choir, both have unsurpassed talent and command us to do our very best. We are all volunteers making our voices very special to our congregation and to each of us on Friday evenings. Debbie Friedmans master pieces are sung every Friday Shabbat. It is with unbelievable saddness that Debbie’s life was shortened at such a young age.
    Her songs will be sung and heard with greater meaning.
    Sorrowful with gratitude and appreciation, Revenn Edelstein

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