Sunday, January 09, 2011

A pioneer in Jewish healing has died

I only saw Debbie Friedman perform twice. The first was at a healing service, long before I became a rabbi, with Michael Strassfeld at the Ansche Chesed synagogue on the West Side of Manhattan. And while I did not become the kind of big fan of Friedman's effort to blend folk music with Jewish spirituality that so many of my friends did, the example of that healing service was a key inspiration to me. It helped show me, as Friedman did for so many people, the potential for Jewish spirituality to create deep meaning even for those who felt alienated from the more traditional expressions of Judaism they had grown up with -- especially for people who are suffering.

May her memory be a blessing for all of us.

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