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October 20, 2014 | 26th Tishrei 5775

Liz Ornstein, Temple Sinai, Rochester, NY

I consider myself so lucky to have many many memories of Debbie. From feeling like I was praying for the first time as I sang her T'filat HaDerech swaying with 500 other women as Debbie concluded a women's seder for us; to standing on stage with my then 3 year-old daughter after Debbie invited the children to join her; to being privileged to be one of the 6000 people in attendance at the San Diego Biennial and singing Mi Sheberach to Debbie; and so many more. But, interestingly, the thing that I am most grateful to Debbie for occurred not in her presence. My father spent the last few months leading up to his death (barely 9 months after my mother had died) in a local hospital. I would go, almost every day, from work directly to the hospital to be with him. As I would turn my car into the parking garage I would start to cry. One day, by coincidence (if there is such a thing) just as I made that turn Debbie's rendition of Psalm 23 began playing on my CD player. I felt comforted and soothed in a way that I cannot even describe in words. After that day, every day as I would park my car at the hospital, I would sit for a few minutes and listen to (and sometimes sing along with) Debbie's song -- several times -- before entering the hospital. For the solace and peace that this brought me during one of the most difficult periods of my life I shall be forever grateful to Debbie. May her memory continue to bless all of us just as she so frequently blessed us in life.

 

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