Yesterday was both sad and hopeful. Debbie Friedman, a force for healing and peace in the Jewish music world died much too soon. Her music brought us comfort, prayer and a closeness to a divine power all set to melodies which caused your heart to cry, to love, to heal. Her negum (melodies) are used in synagogue services all over the world, her concerts brought joy to millions. I only saw her live once, this past Rosh Hashanah, second day, when she joined the services at B’nai Horin. She talked about moving back to the west coast, her energy was so uplifting that you just knew the New Year would be a better one. But, alas, her year did not last past yesterday. However her spirit and her love will be inspiring people for generations to come. Rest well, Debbie.

To follow that news with a rally by Jewish World Watch to show solidarity with southern Sudan in its referendum for secession from northern Sudan, into its own independent country somehow felt fitting. We waved signs, made speeches and tried to rally the consciousness of the world that the vote must be peaceful and recognized after it’s completed. Too many people get killed in too many places around the world, especially in Africa, for wanting democracy, the right to independence and a peaceful life. It’s 2011, when will we ever learn and be better human beings?