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September 1, 2015 | 17th Elul 5775

Cantor Annie L. Bornstein, Beth Ahabah, Richmond, VA

Debbie and I met when she oferred her first Healing Service at Congregtion Kol Ami in White Plains, NY.

I was the cantor and Debbie warmly invited me to sing along with her during the Service. As we improvised harmonies and echos, I remember how deeply moved I was by her deep commitment and personal energy. Some years later, when chairing an ACC Conference, I invited Debbie to be our "guest artist". Debbie and I sat at a cafe popping Tums and Perrier, somewhat fearful of the reaction that our cantorial colleagues would have to her appearance. Debbie walked onto the stage in a white pant suit, her guitar in hand, singing her "MiShebayrach" for us. As so often she did, she asked that we "just listen". She said: 'This is for you..." A few seconds after she ended her blessing, hundreds of teary cantors and soloists stood and applauded for what seemed like an eternity. I will always be grateful to Debbie not only for the way in which she enabled ALL of us to participate in praying for healing but for the courage she had in standing before the ACC at what was a difficult time between us. The Cantorate now understood that she was not there to "replace us or be one of us" but to work "with us", offering her unique gifts in the hope that we would bring her music to our Congregations. And so we have. Debbie showed enormous and continuous courage throughout the years of her illness despite the obstacles she faced. She always showed up to sing for us, sometimes able to walk and at other times... not. Depsite her own agony of both body and mind, Debbie sang God's praises with all her heart. Debbie's contribution to Jewish Music will be long lasting. She has been an iconic presence in our time. We pray that her soul be cared for by the wings of shechinah and that she rest in peace.
Kein y'hi ratzon. Cantor Annie L. Bornstein

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