Celebrate Community with New Book about Musician Debbie Friedman

A young girl named Debbie moves with her parents across the country, far from her close-knit large extended family. She feels unmoored in the new city, searching for connection, until she finally finds it at a Jewish sleepaway camp. There she finds community and music that stirs her soul. She learns to play guitar - and in turn, makes history.

A Place to Belong, by Deborah Lakritz and illustrated by Julia Castaño, tells the story of Debbie Friedman, and how her quest to connect with her feelings and tradition led her to become one of the most famous Jewish musicians of our time. 

Her songs "married traditional Jewish texts to contemporary folk-infused melodies, and is credited with helping give ancient liturgy broad appeal to late-20th-century worshippers," wrote the New York Times in her 2011 obituary.

She created melodies for V'ahavta, Oseh Shalom, and Mi Shebeirach,” an emotional rendition of the prayer for the sick that is now standard repertoire in congregations around the world. "Miriam's Song" typifies her work - progressive, strongly feminist, and emotionally resonant.

Friedman's Alef-Bet Song was in fact created in the late 1970s to accompany a Behrman House Hebrew series, a legacy of which we are very proud. The image below from our archive is of Friedman and former longtime Behrman House editor Ruby Strauss in the recording studio during the making of the Alef-Bet Song.

A Place to Belong includes a note for families about creativity and how to spark joy and meaning to our own lives and those around us. 

Now Available at Behrman House and Retailers Nationwide

A Place to Belong 

by Deborah Lakritz

illustrated by Julia Castaño