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Author Blog: The Back Story

Debra Band’s most recent book, “Arise! Arise! Deborah, Ruth and Hannah” is now available. Her work in Hebrew illuminated manuscripts draws upon her love of both the manuscript arts, and Jewish tradition and learning. Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


I’ve adored illuminated manuscripts all my life — as a child and teenager, these were the postcards I’d take home from museum trips. I’ve done hundreds of ketubot and this is my third book project published in 7 years, and as absorbing as each of these projects has been, “Arise! Arise!” has the deepest claim on me.

“Arise! Arise!” is a memorial to my late husband, David, who passed away in March 2009 after a long struggle with a unique spinal cord cancer. A couple of afternoons before he died, my father-in-law, Arnold Band, a renowned scholar of Hebrew literature, and I were sitting and talking quietly beside David’s bed in our family room, which had now morphed into a home hospice. “So, you know what your next project is going to be?” he asked. I rolled my eyes and said something like, “I know you’re going to tell me.” He knew perfectly well that I’d been working on Esther insofar as the illness allowed. “Yes,” he said, “your next project is going to be Shirat Devorah and do you know why? Because you are the Devorah.” The real reason, however, the one that neither of us could yet bring ourselves to say, was that this would be a memorial to the son and husband we were about to lose.

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Author Blog: The Back Story

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