And you shall be a blessing.

I was so sad to learn of the passing of Debbie Friedman this weekend.

Like me, Debbie was a songleader at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, aka “Jew Camp” in Wisconsin. Unlike me, Debbie had a true gift at creating beautiful, original music that touched millions of people.

My summers, for the 12 years that I went to OSRUI, were filled with Debbie’s music. A few times, I even got to sing and learn with her. She had a quiet but strong presence that could command a crowd of hundreds of restless youth campers. Her music had a perfect blend of evoking tradition and spirituality while feeling current and accessible.

I also remember learning, early-on (before I had very many LGBTQ role models) that Debbie was a lesbian. It wasn’t widely talked about; yet, somehow knowing that she was ‘family’ was validating in my years of questioning and feeling challenged by coming at to my camp community.

My mother remained a Debbie Friedman superfan, long after I had stopped listening to my cassette mix tapes of Jewish camp music. Mom, I honor and feel the grief I imagine you are experiencing.

So I hope that Debbie, whose legacy will sing on at camps, youth groups, and synagogues for years to come, is resting in peace. And I think of words from one of her own songs:

And you shall be a blessing, you shall be a blessing
You shall be a blessing lechi lach

Advertisements

About fairymere

Radical, Foodie, Performer, Activist, Reader, Jew, Fairy, Muppet, Aspiring Gardener, Appreciator of Sparkly things
This entry was posted in Pop Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s