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 The Bible
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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