I'm an atheist. But I was raised as a Jew. My rabbi was a mensch. So, I am writing a diary about him. It's entirely personal, and I won't blame you for not reading, but he really was a good guy, and if you want to read more, it's below the fold
Again, I'm an atheist. And I'm writing about a rabbi.
(cross posted at street prophets)
Shalome Michael Gelber died on Dec 8, 2001; aged about 80.
He was born in Toronto, Canada, and served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he was part of the forces liberating the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. In addition to beinga rabbi, he was a stockbroker with Bear Stearns, a psychotherapist, an author, a playwright, and a professor of religion at NYU.
His writings included 1. The Failure of the American Rabbi
Some personal reminiscences
Micheal was a mensch. Michael had time for everyone. Michael took interest in everyone. Michael helped everyone.
When I was a troubled teen, struggling with my learning disabilities and my difficulties with my parents, Michael had time for me. When my brother was struggling with drug addiction and alcoholism, Michael had time for him.
Michael started and ran the Family Synagogue. You've heard of the wandering Jew? We were the wandering congregation. We met in unused rooms in other synagogues. We met in Michael's apartment. We met in members' homes. Once, we had our seder at the Yale club. We brought all the 'fixings'. One member made Matzoh balls and we asked them to put them in broth. Not specific enough. Matzoh balls in beef boullion! weird.
Our meetings were 5 minutes of prayer, and 45 minutes of stories. I still remember some, and it's been 35 or 40 years. That's some good God teaching.
Once, when I was about 10, Michael told me I should be a rabbi when I grew up. I said "but Michael, I'm an atheist" He replied "a lot of good rabbis are atheists".
So, now, when I take part in Street Prophets or the Brothers and Sisters diaries on Kos, I think of him. He would approve.
I miss him. Thanks for reading