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November 21, 2014 | 28th Cheshvan 5775

Rabbi Lisa Edwards, Cantorial Soloist Fran Chalin, Cantor Juval Porat , Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), Los Angeles, CA

Composer, Jewish liturgist,
singer-songwriter, prayer leader extraordinaire, member of the lgbt
community--Debbie touched our lives in ways too many to count.

It was Debbie Friedman who taught the liberal Jewish world to
pray for healing and just as there were special prayers offered
worldwide (including at BCC) over the last few days for her healing, so
now will there be prayers offered with the intent to comfort the many
who mourn her loss, and to bring her soul to rest under the wings of
Shekhinah.

She started out as a camp counselor and song leader who brought
modern melodies of Jewish prayers to Jewish camps. Soon she began
composing, singing, and sharing music that changed the landscape of not
just Jewish song but Jewish thought as well. Thousands of people sang
the word - "emotainu" even before they knew what the word meant! The
power of her music raised a whole new generation of Jews who sang
prayers and songs that included women and women of the Torah.

While many congregations regularly include Debbie Friedman songs
and liturgy in their prayers and prayerbooks, BCC's prayerbook includes
this special note under her song, Lechi-lach: "This song, based on
Genesis 12:1-2, was written by Debbie Friedman and BCC member Savina
Teubal, z'l, for the Simchat Chochma ("joy of wisdom") ceremony that
Savina created on the occasion of her 60th birthday. This ceremony, at
which this song premiered, took place at Beth Chayim Chadashim, Los
Angeles in November 1986 on Shabbat Lech Lecha."

Numerous BCC members count Debbie Friedman among their friends,
still more count her songs as significant influences on our lives, and
all of BCC's clergy count her among our important teachers and role
models. She taught us so much, brought us so much. She will be missed,
even as we know that the many gifts she gave us -- not only her songs,
but a different way to pray -- will live on, continuing to bless us in
moments of sorrow and joy.

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