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August 27, 2015 | 12th Elul 5775

Harold Singer, Temple Israel, Boca Raton, FL

I met Debbie at Oconomowoc at a youth group Winter Conclave in the late 1950's.

She was the song leader for her temple in Minneapolis or St Paul. I was the Youth Director for our temple in Duluth. Debbie soon became the regional song leader and her songs soon replaced the popular songs of those years, which the kids sang along with a few Hebrew songs. Most of the music was popular.

Over the years, until about 15 years ago, my wife and I kept in touch with Debbie as she progressed in her music field. She came to Boca several times and did several concerts. Audree and I always were invited to sit with her mother, her aunt and her nephew.

Our temple in Duluth merged with the Conservative Synagogue and my position of Youth Director soon had me involved with United Synagogue Youth. I became co-chair of the Emtza region United Synagogue Youth and was delighted as Debbie's music was soon as much of their musical program as it was in the Reform Temple Youth Program.

I am now in my 80's and the music I grew up with in my late adult years, Debbie Friedman's music, has become more familiar than the music of my youth. Debbie is, in my mind, the greatest contributor of the bonds that hold our youth with music they can understand and relate to and which binds them to their religious heritage. She has enriched Judaism beyond any words we can express.

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