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Debbie Friedman to teach Reform cantors

Singer-songwriter Debbie Friedman has been appointed to the faculty of the Reform cantorial school.

This fall, Friedman will teach rabbinical and cantorial students at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Sacred Music in New York. She also will coach cantorial students.

Friedman’s appointment is being heralded as an official stamp of approval of her style of contemporary music. School officials say it already is taught alongside traditional chazzanut, or cantorial music, in Reform congregations.

From her start as a composer of Jewish summer camp songs in the 1970s, Friedman has penned hundreds of songs for worship and performance. Some, like “The Water in the Well,” are originals. Others, such as “L’cha Dodi” and “Sim Shalom,” are reworkings of traditional Jewish prayers. Her tune for “Mi Shebeirach,” one of her best-known musical compositions, is used in many synagogues.

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