New Debbie Friedman song spreads from shul to shul

About two weeks before she died, Debbie Friedman stood with Rabbi Joy Levitt at the piano in Levitt’s Manhattan apartment, and she shared with her friend a melody that the legendary singer and composer would never have the chance to record.

Debbie Friedman

It was Friedman’s new version of “Shalom Aleichem,” the hymn traditionally sung Friday evenings to welcome the Sabbath angels.

Friedman, who was in New York en route to the December 2010 Limmud Festival in England, had sung the very same tune the previous night to Levitt’s cousin, who was dying of breast cancer.

“I think this is going to be my legacy. This is going to be bigger than Mi Sheberach,” Friedman told Levitt, referring to her melody of the prayer for healing, which is widely sung in liberal synagogues.

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