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October 20, 2014 | 26th Tishrei 5775

Barbara and Larry Shuman, Temple Sinai, Pittsburgh, PA

We were fortunate to be among Debbie's 5000 closest friends. We have many wonderful memories from the URJ Kallot where Debbie was frequently on the faculty.

Her Saturday night concerts were high points of Kallot at UC Santa Cruz, Brandeis and Franklin Pierce College. These provided an opportunity for many people to get to know Debbie as a teacher as well as a performer. She was an amazing individual who could see into a person's soul (and drink a case of perrier water in a single evening)! We remember one year, Farfel harmonizing with her at Brandeis, during a thunderstorm (Debbie didn't want Farfel to be frightened alone in the dorm) so she brought her to the concert. There was a problem - Brandeis didn't allow dogs, but Debbie claimed she wasn't a dog, just a small person. Debbie had a shtick about the towels at Brandeis and how small they were. Perhaps our favorite memory at Brandeis was when Sandy Seltzer retired and Debbie composed a song about him - she wrote it Saturday afternoon and sang that evening, and it was wonderful. She later recorded it! One cold Saturday night we were walking with Debbie back to her apartment in NY; we were stopped by a street person asking for money. Rather than ignore the woman, Debbie told us to wait while she ran across the street and bought her a meal at a fast food restaurant - that was Debbie! Debbie told us when she was on a kibbutz in Israel (after high school), she was assigned to the kitchen to clean chickens. She decided to line all the chickens up in a row, and crossed their legs like one large chorus line. That was the last time they assigned her to the kitchen. In reality, Debbie was an excellent cook - she even threw a surprise birthday party for Larry one year and prepared the entire meal herself for about a dozen people. Somewhere in our basement we have videos of Debbie's kallot concerts - we will try to find them and make them available to the Union. Debbie, you have truly been a blessing to us and to countless others who knew you, and those who knew you only through your music.

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