As I am sure you have all heard by now, Debbie Friedman passed away on January 9th. I am writing this having just finished watching the live stream of her funeral. I watched it along with the congregation that was there in person and 7,150 other people on the web. I cried through a lot of it. Her influence on the Jewish world is almost immeasurable.
At Temple Beth Torah, we will be singing a lot of her music during this period of Shiva and Shloshim and on January 28th, we will mark our Shabbat with a service of her music and a sermon in song about her contribution to the Jewish world.
I will try to record that and make it available through the blog.
Most of all at this time, my heart goes out to her family. Debbie’s passing has touched so many people, that we think that she belongs to us. Her poor family, although I am sure touched by the outpouring of love, must deal with this loss in such a public way. As Debbie herself said, “Heroes are just people that we call another name.” I pray that G-d will be with Debbie’s family and give them strength enough to bare their own sorrow along with the sorrow of all of her fans.
Debbie, thank you for all that you have given to the world. Thank you for your music, your spirit, your patience, your joy. We will never forget you.
I cried during the service also. I feel like I have lost a friend
‘Tis a sad day.
The beautiful music and profound eulogies infused so many of us there with a sense of peacefulness and inspiration in the midst of our collective and communcal grief over the loss of a beacon of light in our global Jewish community prematurely snuffed out so suddenly leaving us in shock and disbelief. Today was quite surreal. We have all lost a treasured soul and we will all keep her music and works alive in our hearts, our temples, our camps, our homes, passing her teachings and music down from generation to generation as we have been doing since Debbie Friedman captivated us not so many years ago. We will never forget!
Her music was beautiful and inspirational, and I was actually introduced to it at TBT, by the wonderful Rosh Hodesh group led by Shelle Goldstein. I then had the pleasure and honor of meeting Debbie at our Cantor’s installation at Beth Emet (Evanston), and then again at a concert he gave here. It’s amazing to see the huge number of people that were influenced by her and her music, who became cantors, educators and songleaders, all because of Debbie. Then, there’s also hundreds who credit her for their strong Jewish identity, created by her music when they were at camp. May her memory be for a blessing.
I grew up in the Reform movement at a time when our services and educational programs were doing a very good job of losing young people. When I first heard Debbie’s music, I had a true awakening. Singing with her at my first CAJE conference, and many times since then, has helped me to become the educator that I am today. Our young people have no idea of the tremendous gift she has given to our movement, and to the Jewish people. And she shall be a blessing.
While I was already an adult when introduced to Debbie’s music, I feel like I “grew up” into Judaism with/ because of her music. I also had the honor of meeting her and taking a course with her at Elat Chayim many years ago. It was a wonderful experience and listening to her (not singing) speaking about life and love and healing was an incredible experience. Of course her music speaks for itself. She gave true meaning to living a life of meaning. And we are all the better for her having been a part of this world.