Growing up the son of a Reform Rabbi, Debbie Friedman's music was everywhere.
I listened to it at temple and before I went to bed. I sang it at song sessions at camp and as I sat around the family dinner table. I knew every word and sang each song with Ruach -- a Hebrew word which I actually learned from her song "Not By Might." My first concert was a Debbie Friedman show at a local synagogue. No one sat as she belted "Miriam's Song" and no eyes were dry as she sang "Mi Shebeirach." I remember how excited I was as she sang one of my favorite songs at the time, "And the Youth Shall See Visions" for her encore. She was a genuine performer and connected with her audience -- which consisted of people of all ages.
I can say without any reservation that Debbie Friedman was my Beatles. We had every cassette tape and then we had every CD. From her first album "Sing Unto God" to my personal favorite "Live at the Del", which my brother and I were insistent always be on in the car as we drove pretty much anywhere. We sang "The Latke Song" on Hanukkah, "Lechi Lach" at my Bar Mitzvah, and I have recited her "Mi Shebeirach," a prayer that I have found personal strength in and sang for those in need of healing -- every week since I was five-years-old.
Her music touched my life and those of thousands of people. Todah Rabah Debbie for everything you have done for the world of Jewish music, you will truly be missed.