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September 21, 2014 | 26th Elul 5774

Rabbi Tom Alpert, Needham, MA

The news of Debbie Friedman's passing has hit all of us.

Although she has been battling health issues for such a long time, it was perhaps the very fact of this that made her loss such a shock. It seemed that, somehow, she would always prevail. I met Debbie when I attended my first UAHC Kallah, when I was just beginning to think seriously about entering the rabbinate. We met at Brandeis, and I had a car because I was commuting from home. Debbie could not do stairs, so I volunteered to drive her around campus. The building we came to had three steps to take from where I could park the car. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not athletic. So, when Debbie said that I should carry her, I laughed. The next thing I knew, she had jumped into my arms, and I brought her up the stairs. Nothing much, perhaps, but her gracefulness has stayed with me. She was, indeed, full of grace. May the Compassionate One send comfort to her family and to all who loved her.

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