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Debbie Friedman

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Culture (language, religion, ethnicity, etc.): 

Debbie Friedman (1951-2011) was an American singer songwriter of Jewish songs.

Her music had strong themes of feminism and women's empowerment, including using feminine pronouns in Hebrew for God in some lyrics. Her songs are used in various branches of Judaism today. 

She was also well-known to be a lesbian (as acknowledged publicly for the first time in her NY Times obituary) but did not want to be defined by her sexual orientation and did not acknowledge this publicly herself during her life.

"While some rabbis and cantors welcomed her music as a democratizing force, others saw it as a subversive breach of time-honored tradition, in which the cantor was typically white-haired, always male and usually vocally imposing and the congregants were passive listeners.

By contrast, Ms. Friedman’s music emphasized audience participation. (At her concerts, she encouraged audience members to sing along; many also danced in the aisles.)" (from the NY Times obituary)

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