Not found in the library?
An old joke:
Question: How many librarians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Answer: I don’t know, but I can look it up!
Over the past several years, it’s been my job, my challenge, and occasionally my passion to “look it up.” I love playing detective: tracking down elusive facts and citations; finding everything ever written on an obscure topic; and knowing the hidden places where knowledge is lurking in the library and the world of electronic resources.
So, when we started planning my son’s Bar Mitzvah, I was confident that I could find everything that I needed. A quick search of the catalog under the subject “bar mitzvah” led me to the BM 707 section of the stacks. I found rows of books about the history and customs of the ceremony. Need to plan a party? I found the checklists. Need to select a mitzvah project? I found some guidelines. Need to keep it spiritual and meaningful? We have it on the shelves! Need to figure out how the baby I held yesterday suddenly turned 13? I can’t find a thing! Need an outline for a speech expressing how much this child has brought to my life? Not be found.
I wander up and down the stacks. I stroke the baby name books I had poured through, although I had already known that he would be named after my grandfather, a man of great kindness and integrity. I finger the Bibles remembering that we had ‘sponsored’ my son’s name in the Torah scroll that was written for our congregation and hoping that he would keep coming back to the Torah. I pass the literature section and smile, thinking of the delightful rhyming stories I read to him as a baby and the fantasy adventure books he brings to me now to share. I pass the cookbooks and think not only of the massive baking we’ve done in the past few weeks, but all the years of covering the kitchen and ourselves in a layer of flour as we baked mandelbroit or challah.
I wander up and down the stacks thinking about my son and family and think, “Perhaps I have found a speech here.”