The life & Legacy of
In?Life Cycles, Debbie stated:When disaster befalls us, we have the option to withdraw or to attempt to transform the experience into a teacher for ourselves, our friends, our families, and our communities.?Our personal disaster may not only be our gift, it may sometimes be another?s gift as well. It is our obligation to discover these gifts and give them to others.
Her understanding of the community?s role in the healing of the individual drove Debbie to be a leader in modern Judaism?s healing movement.
Of Debbie's care for the ill, the Jewish Week quoted John Ruskay of the UJA-Federation of New York:
[Debbie] was our teacher in front of thousands at communal conferences and concerts around the world... [Q]uite remarkably, Debbie was also available at the bedsides of those who were ill; convening healing services for the terminally ill, to provide an infusion of inspiration and courage.
A NOTE FROM DEBBIE WE ARE POWERFUL. It is hard to remember that. Sometimes, life takes it turns into the unknown and presents us with challenges we would have preferred not to encounter under any circumstances. Suddenly, we are confronted with our pain. It is a strange thing that pain creates beauty and potential for healing.
During an interview, Debbie recounted experiences of those in need of physical, spiritual, and emotional healing:
There is the woman wearing a tichel, who sits with her child at her side. She holds her daughter close to her side, mouthing the words to the prayers. It is clear that she is not wearing that tichel because she is observant.
There is a man in a beautiful Armani suit. His head is in his hands. He is sobbing. His wife just died. He lifts his head. Tears are rolling down his cheeks. He is inconsolable. He is lost in his pain. He is naked and exposed. Where will he go? How will he find any place where he can silence the sounds of the tears rolling off his cheeks?
Cheryl Friedman, Debbie's older sister, shares the following account, from the end of Debbie's life, as a poignant illustration of the crucial role the Mi Shebeirach plays for many modern Jews. There are moments that shatter the souls of those facing the death of a loved one or one's own death -- and myriad other of life's profound losses: