I’ve been at the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati (on the Hebrew Union College campus) for several days, viewing papers of Tehillah Lichtenstein (and, as it turns out, some by Rabbi Lichtenstein included in the 10th folder under her name).
Among other things, I realized that I was on the campus where Rabbi Lichtenstein received Reform S’michah. For some reason, I’d always assumed he attended a program in NYC. In fact, it was here. I looked at the older buildings, thinking, “He was in there” and “This is what he saw from the outside.”
I had the excitement of viewing papers that contained comments (in a few cases, entire texts) in their own handwriting(s). It gave me quite a sense of “history” and more direct contact with them.
There were 10 file boxes of Tehillah’s papers (the last of which contained files by Rabbi Lichtenstein as well as some correspondence from and to Tehillah). Estimated at 500 essays/sermons, each at least 15 pages. In one, she writes about allotting herself 25-30 minutes to talk. For most rabbis, this would be considered unacceptable. Tehillah’s congregation hung on every word.
I’d like to find more correspondence to and from Rabbi or Mrs. Lichtenstein relating directly to “treatment” or “prayer” or some other application of Jewish Science to a particular person in a specific situation.
Tehillah’s essays/sermons are uplifting, even when being “skimmed,” rather than read in their entirety. There was no time to do that, nor did I expect to. I came to inspect the material, to ascertain what might be involved in preserving it. On some pages, the type is fading. Sooner or later, all the pages will be too brittle to handle. I spoke to an administrator of the library about “digital” possibilities, and will work on this further. The expense involved is not so great as to make this out of the question.
I was struck again by the sense of the need to carry on their work and maintain it for future generations.
As with all research, it also led me to want to know more about the “New Thought Synagogue” of S. Pereira Mendes, that existed in Los Angeles c. 1956-63. His wife, Reva, wrote a very lovely pamphlet of affirmations which I will try to obtain, before asking the Archives to scan them for me.
Fascinating few days I”ve spent here.