January 08, 2011

Mi'Shibarah For Debbie Friedman

If you're not Jewish or never went to Jewish youth group or summer camp, you've probably never heard of Debbie Friedman. But if you have, she's a singular figure, a giant- quite simply the most important figure in Jewish music in the past half-century.

Debbie, who has reportedly suffered health problems in recent years, is currently in critical condition in a hospital in California. A healing service for her will be held Sunday night, and will reportedly be streamed to Friedman's hospital room.

I'd be willing to guess roughly half the songs and melodies sung at Jewish summer camps were Friedman compositions, with a lot of her work making its way into synagogues too. I was a songleader in my NFTY and camp days, and her music was a tremendous part of the songs I sang and led. I saw her in concert several times, and participated in a songleading workshop called Hava Nashira, which remains one of the better camp experiences I ever had.

I know whatever camp or youth group experiences my son has, Debbie's music will play a huge part in it.

One of her better known songs is "Mi'Shibarah," a Jewish prayer for healing. People all over the world are saying it for her this weekend:

Posted by Stephen Silver at January 8, 2011 08:28 PM
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