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.