Be live The Temples of your mind
Beyond belief the poem divine.
Be live the blessed virgin birth
Mothers smile and babies mirth.
My song of innocence above, a fragment from a longer poem, was written after The Final Age Testament. What I reject as doctrine I accept as poetry.
My story begins in the spring of 1949. Dad and mom to be were intimate in what I think of as the way of the 50’s, and I was conceived. My Grandfather always drove a Pontiac, so I imagine this happened in the back seat of a Bonneville. Mom began to show in the summer and they were quietly married in my grandfathers’ living room by the local orthodox Rabbi.
I had heard, many times, the story of my over large head (my hat size is an 8 Which is XXL) being elongated as I eased my way into the world through my mothers birth canal, but not until recently did she tell me she was intact, and in fact, a virgin.
They did not name me Immanuel and I have never suffered a Christ complex. On the other hand I do identify with Elijah and have written a testament to prepare the way, along with a guidebook to make straight the paths of religion. I have purchased my camel hair coat and am ready to do an announcing. The Final Age is coming. Just wanted to let you all know; this time it is a final revelation, and not a literal repetition.
This begins a tale of fear and trembling. In the story of the binding of Isaac in the twenty second chapter of Genesis one experiences a thundering three day silence. Who will be the sacrifice on the mountain? Was Father Abraham mad?
I was a lad, around ten years old, I think, and father and I drove downtown to see a movie. I do not remember anything about the movie. When it was over and we walked to find our car we walked into blizzard winds and snow. Our car was wedged in front and back, perhaps the blowing snow obscured the vision or judgment of the cars owners. I was sure we would walk home. Father sat and stared straight ahead for a few moments and then smiled. He put our car in drive and pushed the car in front of us tight up to the car in front of it. We were still wedged in. Father threw our car into reverse and backed into the car on our rear dislodging that cars parking break. Father stared straight ahead and hummed a self satisfied hmmmm.
Tucker and Hebrew School
I attended Tucker (cross the T and you are expelled) elementary school in Pittsfield. Jewish children were enrolled in Hebrew school a few extra afternoons a week. I remember little of those classes, but do recall that I was week student who needed tutoring with the principles daughter. I remember her name. Naomi. I know she had no idea she was tutoring someone who would become a Rabbi and even rewrite the Bible.
Now this grandiose Rabbi announces a way to rebuild modern Judaism on new foundations. Actually my plan is simple. We will reconstruct Judaism and all religion based on traditional foundations.
First Judaism. Convert all the Temples into meeting places for family education.
During the week the Temple is a free Medical and Dental clinic where Doctors and Dentists donate a tithe of time for those without medical and dental care.
Simplify communal prayer; no service is ever longer than one hour. Read the Torah in stereo, Hebrew with trope and then the language of the congregation, using the same melody. No sermons. Teach all how to practice in the home. Teach all how to pray privately (The Temple of the Heart) and how to study (The Temple of the Mind.)
That’s it. And Bar and Bat mitzvah is moved to twenty one or graduation from college.
You will need to read my Bible for instructions on fixing the religions.
Crossing the T
I did cross the T and was thrown out of Tucker school. I would have been thrown out of Hebrew school but was tossed to Naomi. I also remember the story of the iconoclast Abraham who busted up his fathers idols, a fine story for all Jewish boys and girls as they are educated to go out into the world.
In this first telling of my story I want to confess that I believe the creative and cultural prospects for modern Judaism (excluding orthodoxy) are dim indeed. The orthodox will always have an organic and immediate connection to Judaism. Every morning eyes open to prayers, hands are washed, and even a prayer for defecation is recited upon completing the act. The orthodox eat sleep and eliminate Jewish. They conserve tradition and accept the obligation to study. Bar and bat mitzvah makes sense for the orthodox, who are ready at age twelve or thirteen.
Not so the other denominations. I pulpit Rabbi-ed for many years, and resigned, forever, when I concluded that Temples were doomed and headed for extinction in a few generations. I moved to full time prison chaplaincy and was able to escape the idolatries of my denomination. Simply and boldly stated I compare Hebrew schools that prepare our youth for a bar or bat mitzvah that is the end, her than a beginning, of a journey of self discovery to a dance around the Golden Calf. Any Rabbi who leads a flock like this becomes an Aaron, a High Priest. My orthodox schooling inspired me to accept the truth of the Torah of Moses, that this is forbidden.