Friday, January 7, 2011

Debbie Friedman

Jewish youth group and summer camp are majorly responsible for my strong Jewish identity. I was a NFTY kid, spent a semester of high school studying in Israel, and went to Reform Jewish summer camp. One recurrent theme in all of these experiences was music; music that was created or influenced by Debbie Friedman.

I've met Debbie a few different times in my life. Being present for many of her concerts, interacting with her at youth group events and camp, and singing her songs late into the night. I last saw her a few weeks ago. She was also at the conference in the UK: performing, speaking about the power of healing, and participating. One night I sat next to her until 4am, as she and a group of others (mostly in their 20s) held an informal song circle with an eccentric mix of music. We sang many of the classic "Rise up Singing" type of songs along with some of her's and other Jewish songs. In conversation she surprised me by knowing where I was from, and who I was friends with.

Due to the power of facebook, this morning I learned that she's in the hospital. From multiple different articles, it seems that she's in the hospital in a medically induced coma as her body is struggling to fight pneumonia. There is a request that people sing her MiSeberiach tomorrow night at 6:12pm PST, right after the close of shabbos. If you are inclined to pray there is also a request that you pray for her healing, for a woman who has taught so many around the world how to ask for healing. Her hebrew name is Dina Lea bat Freidl ve-Gavriel.

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