Posts Tagged ‘Debbie Friedman (z’l)’

A well to draw from: hanotein layaeif koach/ who gives strength to the weary

Books used in this review are from my personal library or were provided by my local public library. I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book title referred to on my website and purchase it from Amazon, I may receive a very small commission on your purchase. You will incur no additional cost, however. I appreciate your support.

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 We are on the eighth blessing of the Nisim B’Chol Yom/the blessings for daily miracles recited during morning prayers:

 “Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe,

Who strengthens the weary.”

 In October 2000, my sister and I walked the Avon 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk (Back then it was a 3-day, 60 Mile walk!) in honor of our mother z’l, a survivor of breast cancer. The walk began in Santa Barbara, CA and ended in Malibu, CA. It was an incredible experience. One I hope to participate in again someday.

Along with fundraising, I trained for the walk for months ahead of time. However, no amount of training could have prepared us for the massive rain storm that hit the coast of California the Sunday morning of our walk. My sister and I were determined to finish, in spite of the rain, but we had different walking styles. We therefore agreed to split up (she being the faster walker), meet at the designated rest stop one mile before the end and walk that last mile together.

I walked…and walked…and walked. 20 miles is a long walk in the best of weather, but with rain pouring down and wind blowing around and the temperature dropping by the minute, those 20 miles felt like 1000. Still, I walked. And I prayed, really I sang to myself, Debbie Friedman’s (z’l) Mi Shebeirach, over and over, to give myself the strength and courage to take the next step, then the next. It was amazing to me, how much strength I gained from singing and walking, as if I had a well inside me  filled with energy from which to draw whatever strength I needed to continue. During that time, I felt I could actually walk to the moon and back!

While I did not make it to the moon, or to the finish line (another long story,) I was given the strength to walk 59 miles on my own two feet for this very important cause. Mi Shebeirach has become my anthem for any situations in which I find myself low on reserves, but in need of strength to continue the task at hand. I hope you will find a similar talisman for the trying times life often throws along life’s journey.

Happy Reading!

Kathy B.


BraveIreneBrave Irene Written and Illustrated by William Steig. ©1986. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Ages 6-10. Irene’s mother has made a most beautiful dress for The Duchess to wear at tonight’s Ball, but she is too sick to deliver it. Can Irene make it through the blizzard and deliver the dress before it is needed? Irene is loving, strong and brave…so of course she can!


 The Little Engine that Could. Retold By Watty Piper. Illustrated by George & Doris Hauman. ©1930. 1976. Grosset & Dunlap. Ages 2-8.  In this classic story, a little train helps get a cLittleEngineargo of charming, fun toys and delicious, healthy food to the good girls and boys on the other side of the mountain. “I think I can. I think I can….I thought I could. I thought I could!” A timeless message for young children.


ManTowersThe Man Who walked Between the Towers. Written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein. ©2003. Roaring Brook Press. Ages 5-9.  Imagine your goal is to walk on a tightrope as high in the air as you possibly can. There was a young man who did this once. He walked between the Twin Towers in New York City, NY. Why, how and what happened after he did it are all beautifully explained and drawn in this Caldecott Award winning picture book.



Sparrow Girl. Written by Sarah Pennypacker. Illustrated by Yoko Tanaka. ©2009. Disney-Hyperion Books. Ages 5-9. What do you do when you are small and young and someone older and, supposedly, wiser tells you to do something that you know is wrong? When Mao Tse-Tung declared a war on sparrows in China, 1958, Ming-Li knew there would be problems, so she quietly, secretly and courageously saved 7 sparrows. However, the lack of sparrows to eat the insects caused a flourishing locust population that ate all the grain and China suffered a huge famine that killed over 40 million people. Except in Ming-Li’s town where 7 sparrows helped her village survive.


©2014 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and All rights reserved.

Book Review | As You Go on Your Way: Shacharit the Morning Prayer
by Debbie Friedman

Score: 5

As a tribute to Debbie Friedman (z’l), I wanted to post her last CD on my website in a position of honor. This is an extraordinary compilation of Debbie’s music and a wonderful way to begin your day. It contains some of her classic liturgical material along with some new material.  The notes that accompany [...]

Read the rest of this review »

Today My Music Died

The music died today.

Well,  my music anyway – the music that called my heart to Judaism.  I still vividly remember  driving home, from where I do not know, but I do know I was driving down Palos Verdes Boulevard in California and listening to And You Shall Be a Blessing… .  I had listened to this music repeatedly since attending the “Timbrels of Miriam” Conference at the,  at that time, University of Judaism where I purchased it.

I knew all the songs and sang along with them in order, not really understanding the Hebrew nor really listening to what I was singing. I simply loved the melodies. It was dark, I was driving alone in the car. Lechi Lach came on, and I began to sing:

Lechi lach to a land that I will show you
Lech li-cha to a place you do not know
Lechi lach on your journey I will bless you
And you shall be a blessing, you shall be a blessing
You shall be a blessing lechi lach

Suddenly, I listened to the words and understood their meaning.

Suddenly, the words made sense to me, in terms of my own life.

Suddenly, I was singing and tears were pouring out of my eyes. I had to pull over and stop the car.

I wasn’t singing a song any longer. I was hearing a message telling me that I was on a journey.  That the journey was a sacred one, and that everything would be all right.  I had God’s blessing to proceed.

Alone in the car,  I cried a little harder and a little longer, then pulled myself together and got myself home. From that moment on, Lechi Lach (Go! Go!) has been my anthem/motto/principle.  I believe it was at that moment, alone on that dark road, that I knew I would become a Jew – because of Debbie Friedman’s (z’l) incredible talent with words and music.  Now, suddenly and unexpectedly,  Debbie is gone, and my heart grieves with her family and the rest of the world as we try to determine what the future will be without her and her gifts.

I know we will travel forward to that unknown place,  carrying Debbie Friedman’s (z’l) songs and teaching in our hearts, passing them on to our children and their children far into the future. Just like the promise God made to Abraham, the singing of Debbie’s songs will be counted like the dust of the earth.  That is her blessing and our birthright.

Kathy B.

©2010 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and all rights reserved.
CDs used in this review were from my personal collection.
I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a title referred to on my web site and purchase it from Amazon,

I may receive a very small commission on your purchase.

You will incur no additional cost, however.

I appreciate your support.