The music of Debbie Friedman energized generations of Jews across denomination lines. This weekend, a memorial concert to be held in the late singer-songwriter’s honor will attempt to do the same through a celebration of Friedman’s popular tunes.
Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) will host a free community concert the evening of Feb. 13 to mark Friedman’s Shloshim — the end of the 30-day period following her death. Titled “Lechi Lach,” after one of her most famous compositions, the concert will unite on stage top Jewish musicians and cantors from congregations across Los Angeles.
“Debbie changed the way that we sing, and the way that we pray,” said Rabbi Ed Feinstein, senior rabbi of VBS, who organized the tribute. “She offered so much of herself to the community. There are lots of us — rabbis, cantors, people of all faiths — who felt very touched by her.”
The program will feature selections spanning Friedman’s four-decade career, VBS Cantor Phil Baron said.
Performers will include Craig Taubman, of Craig ’n Co. (singing Friedman’s arrangement of “V’shamru”), Sam Glaser (singing “Tefilat HaDerech”) and Julie Silver (singing “Not by Might” and “You Are the One”). Also on the bill are Cantor Mike Stein and the Rolling Steins of Temple Aliyah, music educator and performer Cindy Paley Aboody, Rabbi Cantor Alison Wissot of Temple Judea, and others.
VBS has no budget for the fete, so all of the participants are volunteering their time and talent out of love and respect for Friedman, Feinstein said. The concert will be open to the public with RSVP.
“There have been many wonderful tributes at different synagogues, but we thought, ‘Let’s cross the lines of Conservative and Orthodox and Reform Jews, and gather everyone together and do it as one people,” Feinstein said. “She drew people together like that.”
“Lechi Lach: A Community Celebration of the Music and Spirit of Debbie Friedman,” Sun., Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino, CA 91436. To RSVP, call (818) 530-4094.