Sunday, January 9, 2011

Remembering a tremendous spirit

Sunday the Jewish community, and the world's music community, lost an amazing voice and spirit.  Debbie Friedman z"l, passed away after a battle with pneumonia.

When I first learned about her being in the hospital via Facebook I was in disbelief, as if I didn't believe the news, it couldn't be true.  Of course I thought of her and was humming her Mi Sheberach, but I just couldn't imagine such an amazing voice silenced by this illness.

Then my heart sank when I saw on Facebook that Debbie had left this earth, how could it be? Slowly I began to realize it was true, not a dream, and it just hit me more and more that Debbie Friedman was no longer alive.

The outpouring on Facebook from friends, most of them who I know from the CAJE conferences where we all sang and laughed and cried with Debbie each summer was amazing.  Memories came flooding back and tributes were posted as statuses.

Same Glaser, another amazing Jewish musician I think said it best:

"Our dear friend, mentor and spiritual ima has left the world. I can't imagine what a beautiful, holy place she is in right now.  How many of us did she touch with her sweetness, with her direct channel to God's music?"

My mom and I have been reminiscing over some of our favorite Debbie memories.  One of mine was at CAJE in 2003 in Ohio.  The day most people were flying to the conference was the day that massive blackout hit the east coast.  Debbie made it to the conference but her suitcase didn't.  She as a result came out to perform at the opening program in the jeans and shirt she had traveled in.  She made some jokes and gave as usual a great performance.

Then at the closing program a few days later Debbie came out in those same clothes, pulling her now arrived suitcase.  Everyone was laughing as she unzipped her bag, pulled out the sheet of paper which was meant to serve as our bathmats and the hand towel meant to serve as our bath towel.  Without saying anything she wrapped the towel around her waist, plugged in her amp, and began to sing.  I remember crying from laughing so hard.

There are so many more memories, and I will cherish them forever.

Zichron L'vracha - may her memory always be for a blessing.

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