Questioning Debbie Friedman's Private Life

I am disgusted by what someone who goes by “DLevy” has written about Debbie Friedman on the Jewschool blog, breaching basic standards of dignity and respect, and what people are sending around the Twitterverse. As Debbie’s funeral is livestreamed, people watching and posting comments are conjecturing about whether her partner will be named.

I’ve been asked to respond to this, or else never would have discussed it publicly, because Debbie would not have wanted her personal life bandied about. The privacy and dignity with which she lived her life – all aspects of her life – should be respected, not tossed aside to satisfy someone else’s prurient curiosity or politics.

Debbie was not in the closet. Neither did she ride floats at a gay pride parade. She was, quite simply, a private person. She did not shout from the rooftops. She responded to alienation and injustice through the music she wrote that changed the way we pray.

DLevy wrote:

With remarkable arrogance, DLevy continued:

Unless someone is legislating discrimination against gays and lesbians, or sermonizing from a pulpit against homosexuality, and is actually gay, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business unless they want to share it.

Debbie lived her life with authenticity and dignity, all the more remarkable because of the challenges she endured.

There are responsible people, including Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg and Ben Murane, on Jewschool’s editorial staff and committee. None of them should have allowed this to be posted.