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Arkansas Memories: My Student Pulpit

The News that the Meir Chayim Temple, in McGehee, AR, will officially close this summer saddens me. In tribute to this congregation and what my experience there means to me, I am reposting this memoir of my time there.
I write these words from Dothan, AL, I am here as Scholar in residence at Temple Emanu-El at the gracious invitation of Rabbi Lynne Downey Goldsmith, who commented so very generously when I first posted this essay in May 2014

Finding Ourselves In Biblical Narratives

To this day I remember the excitement that I felt more than 43 years ago when I learned I was “Going to McGehee!”  It was the spring of my third year at HUC, and I was studying in Israel.   I wanted a bi-weekly, preferably in the south because I had never been there. When I learned that I had been matched to become the student rabbi at the Meir Chayim Temple in McGehee in the southwest corner of Arkansas I was overjoyed.

My first trip was a two-week stint for the Holy Days. I flew to Memphis as instructed and then to Little Rock. I picked up my car from THRIFTY Rent-A-Car and drove the hundred miles to Dumas in a huge old green Hudson.  When I pulled up in front of their home, Temple President, Bob Heiman and his wife Hattie, both of very blessed memory, were waiting  outside…

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