A Psalm of Gerry Mendelssohn

Gerry Mendelssohn, our congregation librarian for 40 years, was honored at our Friday night services last week. When an Englishman wants to write a poem of praise, he writes an “Ode”. When a Rabbi wants to write a song of praise, he must write a “Psalm”. But how does one write a psalm? There are 150 Psalms in the Book of Psalms, which is a good place to start learning. So, I went to the Book of Psalms for inspiration. I found it in Psalms 21 and 139.

A Psalm of Gerry Mendelssohn

I lift mine eyes unto the bookstacks,

From where does my help come?

My help comes from Gerry Mendelssohn,

Librarian of Beth Shalom.

Gerry will not let you borrow a book

Without first checking it out.

Gerry is the Protector of Books.

Our Guardian of Books 

Neither slumbers nor sleeps.

Plastic covers adorn her right hand

At her left — the Dewy Decimal System.

You don’t return a book?

Gerry will track you down.

Where can I escape from you Gerry?

Where can I flee from your Presence?

If my book is overdue, you are there.

If I misplace it, you are there too.

Your right hand holding me responsible.

If I say to myself, “Surely being a Rabbi will provide me with cover,

“Surely, in my position Gerry will look away.”

But my being a Rabbi is nothing to you,

To you, being a Rabbi and being a congregant are the same.

Gerry, if you would only go after the wicked,

Those who write notes in the margins.

I count them as my enemies as well! 

I praise you Gerry

Your work is wonderful

I know it very well.