Debbie Friedman has died. She was an important songwriter and creative force in American Jewish life and recognized internationally for her art. Somebody referred to her recently as the "Shlomo Carlebach of the Reform Jewish Movement." She was accomplished in her own right and on her own terms but here might be something to that. Her influence was so widespread and she was beloved by so many.
Like thousands of others, my family can claim a nice connection to her. When my father was the resident rabbi at Camp Swig in California, Debbie was just getting her start as a songwriter. Though in general Dad is more likely to go in for chazzanut (traditional chanting) than anything, he was supportive and encouraging of her because he could see (hear) the quality of her work and its integrity. She remained grateful to him for his support.
In any event, she opened doors to Jewish life for many, many people who were drawn to her music. May her memory and her music be a blessing.
Tribute page here: http://urj.org/debbiefriedman/