Debbie Friedman, a gay woman who achieved success with her songs and hymns of Jewish life and spirituality, died Sunday of pneumonia complications in Mission Viejo, Calif.
A self-taught musician, Friedman was called "the Joan Baez of Jewish song" by the Forward newspaper in 1995. She sold a half-million albums and performed at storied venues like Carnegie Hall. For being a feminist and an out lesbian, Friedman was surprisingly embraced by Orthodox and Reform Jews alike as well as some Christian congregations that performed her music.
Friedman achieved a bit of crossover success in her lifetime -- her lyrics were featured on Hallmark cards, and one of her songs was used in the video Barney in Concert.