Sunday, January 09, 2011

RIP: Debbie Friedman

Mi shebeirach avoteinu M'kor habracha l'imoteinu. May the source of strength who blessed the ones before us help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing, and let us say: Amen. Mi shebeirach imoteinu M'kor habracha l'avoteinu. Bless those in need of healing with refuah sh'leimah, the renewal of body, the renewal of spirit, and let us say: Amen.

It's very fitting to post the words to Debbie Friedman's rendition of the Mi shebeirach prayer, a prayer for healing in the Jewish religion. Obviously, the prayer is longer than the song. It's also fitting to sing it with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in your thoughts and prayers. Friedman passed from complications from pneumonia this morning.
Debbie Friedman, who combined American folk music with Hebrew liturgical texts to create a popular contemporary form of Jewish music, died today at a hospital in Orange County, Calif.

She had been hospitalized for pneumonia, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post. Ms. Friedman was in her late 50s.

Her career began when she was a young woman during the Vietnam War era, when music by the likes of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan was popular.

At the time, Ms. Friedman, who played the acoustic guitar, was attending a Minnesota synagogue. She found services there "dull and passive," she told the New York Times in 1998.

"It infuriated me," she said, "and I wanted to do something about it, provide an avenue of expression that was meaningful. And it came so easily, as if the music was already there, waiting to come out."

May she rest in peace.

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