Monday, August 12, 2019

I Ate Lunch With History

I recently had lunch with Rabbi Sally Priesand.  Rabbi Priesand was the first woman ever to be ordained by any Jewish seminary.  And there I was eating lunch with history.   By the time she was sixteen years old this teenager decided that she wanted to become a rabbi.  When she was still in high school she applied for admission to Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. The letter she received from the College did not deter the determined high school student: "We are pleased to learn of your interest in our college. ... Since you state in your letter that your interests lean specifically to the rabbinate, we would have to inform you candidly that we do not know what opportunities exist for women in the active rabbinate, since we have, as yet, not ordained any women."
Rabbi Priesand is soft spoken.  I asked her if she knew as a rabbinic student that she was making history.  She replied that she was well aware of her historical role and added that the College set up many interviews for her.
After her ordination she served first as assistant and then as associate rabbi at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York and later at Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.  She was the senior and only rabbi of MRT from 1981 until her retirement in 2006.
She created the path for all future women rabbis.  Without Rabbi Sally Priesand and her determined courage there would be no other woman rabbis.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

I'm just trying to right a terrible wrong

Rabbi Leslie Bergson and I spent this morning in Newark protesting the inhumane treatment of immigrants in the detention centers. The event was organized by Bend The Arc.  Twenty-Four immigrants have died in ICE custody.  That is 24 too many deaths.
Part of today's program featured readings from testimonials written by interred children:
"About three days ago I got a fever.  They moved me along to a flu cell.  There is no one to take care of you there.  They just give you pills twice a day.  I also am having an allergic reaction all over my skin.  My skin is itchy and red and my nose is stuffed up.  Two times they gave me a pill for it but not anymore."  Written by an 11 year old boy.
"I'm hungry here at Clint (detention center) all the time.  I'm so hungry that I have woken p in the middle of the night with hunger.  Sometimes I wake up from hunger at 4:00 AM., sometimes at other hours.  I'm too scared to ask the officials here for any more food, even though there is not enough food here for me." Written by a 12 year old boy.
"We are in a metal cage with 20 other teenagers with babies and young children.  We have one mat we need to share with each other.  it is very cold.  We each got a mylar blanket, but it is not enough to warm up.  There are benches but we cannot sleep here.  Sometimes it is so crowded we cannot find a place to sleep, so they allow a few of us to sleep outside the fenced area.  The lights are (on) all of the time." Written by a 16 year old girl.
"They took us away from our grandmother and now we are all alone.  They have not given us to our mother.  We have been here for a long time.  I have to take care of my little sister.  She is very sad because she misses our mother and grandmother very much.  We sleep on a cement bench.  There are two mats in the room, but the big kids sleep on the mats so we have to sleep on the cement bench."
Written by an 8 year old boy.
This cannot be just a political issue.  This is about how we treat people who have come here to escape the terrors of their homelands.

Thursday, August 1, 2019


Back in the day there were a lot of hoops to jump through to get an LCCN (Library of Congress Cataloguing Number).  One of the hoops involved verifying that the book was not self-published nor were you the author.  Also with the old system passwords had to be changed every 90 days which involved counting the days and marking the calendar. Now all of that has changed.
To obtain an LCCN simply click on https://loc.govpublish/prepubbooklink/ and register as a new user either as an author/self-publisher or as a publisher.
If you identify as an author or self-publisher, approval is immediate.  Once you create your account you can then apply for the LCCN.
If you identify as a publisher, the process takes a bit longer because your application has to be approved.
And that is it.  Thank you Library of Congress for making life much easier.