In Memory of Judy Frankel

I was so very saddened to learn about the passing of Judy Frankel, the luminous musician/singer of traditional Sephardic folk melodies, after a long illness.

I first encountered Judy’s music fifteen years ago or so and was immediately transfixed. There are many new interpreters of Sephardic music on the Jewish music scene today, but Judy always stood out from the pack for me. She possessed the rare combination of true musicianship (she was classically trained on guitar), an incandescent  voice, and a profound appreciation of Sephardic culture and tradition.

I had the pleasure many years ago to bring Judy to my previous congregation in Denver – it was so gratifying to see my congregants transformed into instant fans as I just knew they would be. I had always wanted to arrange a concert for JRC as well, and I mourn that this now will not come to pass.

Judy was a sweet and lovely soul and I am only heartened that her voice remains with us still. I encourage you to discover her music for yourself – you can begin by clicking here to hear her sing the classic Sephardic lullaby, “Durme, Durme.”

Zichrona Livracha – may her memory be for a blessing.

5 thoughts on “In Memory of Judy Frankel

  1. Kate Regan

    Beautiful piece on Judy Frankel!
    Judy was an exceptional person and I feel so blessed I had a chance to meet and work with her. Thank you for your piece.

  2. Fred Dobb

    After using Judy’s recordings in workshops on el mundo sefaradi, I finally met her when she gave a concert in Sacramento, CA. A charming presence, always interested in the Ladino-speaking world, she did much to popularize the almost forgotten melodies.
    A great loss.

  3. Andrys

    I loved your description of Judy – beautiful writing.

    I wanted to add that the “Durme…” link no longer works, but Ken Frankel has streams from all her albums including that piece, at

    Also, I have a 2nd version of this piece, sung by Judy, which I particularly love. You can hear that on the page at — where there are options for fast-internet and the slower dial-up modems.

    Thank you .


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