How Debbie Friedman (and CAJE) Gave Jewish Education a New Soundtrack

by | Sep 23, 2022 | Events and Opportunities for Educators

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Professor Judah Cohen
How Debbie Friedman (and CAJE) Gave Jewish Education a New Soundtrack

November 17, 2-2:30 p.m.
Via Zoom. Free/Registration required. Register at

In conversation with Jon A. Levisohn, Judah Cohen (Indiana University) will discuss his recent article, ‘Musical Alternatives: Debbie Friedman in Houston, 1978–1984,’ (Journal of Jewish Education/December 2021) on the crucial role that Debbie Friedman played in making song-leading a core part of the Coalition for Alternatives in Jewish Education (CAJE). He will also address the changes in Jewish education that resulted from this alliance, and why it still matters.

Judah M. Cohen is the Lou and Sybil Mervis Professor of Jewish Culture, and Professor of Musicology, and Associate Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs at Indiana University. He has authored ‘The Making of a Reform Jewish Cantor: Musical Authority, Cultural Investment’ (2009), ‘Sounding Jewish Tradition: The Music of Central Synagogue’ (2011), and ‘Jewish Religious Music in Nineteenth Century America’ (2019). He has also published extensively on Caribbean Jewish life, including his 2004 monograph ‘Through the Sands of Time: A History of the Jewish Community of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands,’ which Alice Hoffman used as a source for her 2015 bestseller ‘The Marriage of Opposites.’ His current projects explore World War II-era narratives in musical theater, 19th century American synagogue music, and American Jewish singer/songwriter/liturgist Debbie Friedman.

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