16,000 and mostly in order

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So. Your Humble Blogger may have mentioned that he is a member of Temple Beth Bolshoi, the biggest and largest temple he’s ever entered in terms of size, largeness and biggosity. Also how big it is. Just to mention, our library holds sixteen thousand volumes. Which isn’t a huge amount for a library, but seems to me like an enormous library for a synagogue. It’s a great resource, and terrific, and wonderful, and all, but it’s a little intimidating for me.

And what with the membership and the location, it’s possible for Beth Bolshoi to raise large sums of money, and we do. We raised N+K millions for renovating said library and turning it into a Media Resource CenterTM, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. During the renovation, of course, the books had to be stored off site, and a moving company was hired to box them all up and store them and then bring them back and shove them back onto the shelves. They delivered the books on Monday, and our librarian discovered that while the boxes were properly numbered and labeled and presented in the proper order, and that the shelves were unloaded into the boxes in the order represented in the boxes, within each box the books were loaded in a manner maximizing speed, efficient use of space and structural integrity of the box. In other words, Not In Order.

So. Here are the hundreds of boxes, and here are the shelves, and each box has to be unloaded, and the books inside placed in proper order on carts, and then shelved. The movers clearly were not to be entrusted with the middle bit, there. And for all the size and largeness and biggage of Temple Beth Bolshoi, there is just the one librarian (a terrific lady, but just one of her). So. Your Humble Blogger spent three hours shelving as a volunteer Tuesday morning before heading off to my paying job in the library. What fun!

Now, to the point of the story, other than to whinge for sympathy that by rights belongs to the shul’s librarian, not to me. I believe that most Gentle Readers have worked in or volunteered for libraries, and the rest of you can well imagine the librarian’s dilemma: Given the sheer quantity of books that pass through the librarian’s hands, he is bound to find a large number of them interesting or even fascinating or at least intriguing, and want to just take a moment to open a few up to find out if they will make it onto the List, or even onto the Short List. But even a short look into each of those provocative books would soon take up all the available work time, and nothing would get done. Many people think that librarians read more than anyone else, which may be true on average, but what’s really true is that librarians refrain from reading more books than anyone.

So there I was, hip deep in the shul’s book collection, trying not to look at the books as I put them in Dewey Decimal order. Jacob Neusner’s translation of Pirke Avot with commentary. A commentary on the Song of Songs. Leonard Fein’s Reform is a Verb, which I’m aware of as an influential book in the last generation of Reform Judaism, but which I’ve never read. And the prize of all, David Mamet’s Bar Mitvah, which on the whole, it’s probably better that I didn’t open, because the version in my head has got to be better than the one in the book.

Today, I am a fucking Bar Mitvah. Bar Fucking Mitvah. I’m saying. Davening up here. Davening up here like a—fuck, like a—what? Fucking Bar Mitzvah, that’s what.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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