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November 26, 2014 | 4th Kislev 5775

Melissa Patack Berenbaum, Los Angeles, CA

Debbie Friedman fanned the flame of my Judaism.

From the first time I learned her songs from song leaders at Kutz Camp and Joseph Eisner Camp and at NFTY conclaves in central NY in the 1970's [Temple Beth Emeth, Albany New York was my home base at that time], I was hooked. She was only a few years older than I, yet her gift of writing songs and lyrics seemed something that, in those days, was way beyond her years. Her music makes Judaism accessible and meaningful to me. She helped make sense out of prayers (Sing Unto G-d, Mish'a'be'rach) and brought history (Not by Might..) and Torah (L'chi Lach, Miriam's Song) to life. I have taught my children her songs and we listen to her CDs often. I saw her in concert many times and was always uplifted and renewed by her songs. I am, proudly, a Debbie Friedman groupie. She was a treasure and her songs and music will continue to inspire future generations of young Jews. We are blessed to have had Debbie Friedman among us and she has left us too soon.

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