My meeting with Israel’s president

My wife and I are in Jerusalem for the holidays and we go to the Jerusalem Great Synagogue for services. We have reserved seats there with our names on the seats. My wife Dina sits in the women’s section, first row, center, the same seat on which my late mother Celia Drazin sat. Both names are on the seat. My seat has not only my name but the name of my late uncle Rabbi Dr. Mendell Lewittes who had the seat before me. My late father Rabbi Dr. Nathan Drazin had a different seat. He was a very smart but also a very humble man and did not want a prominent seat. My and my uncle’s seat is in the front, second row, just behind the seat given to special guests. We have been going to the Jerusalem Great Synagogue for many decades and have met many Israeli presidents and prime ministers. This Shabbat, October 8, 2016, the special guest was the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin.

The president was accompanied by many guards. There were about a half dozen outside the synagogue and about the same number inside. They were in constant touch with one another by means of an ear piece and a hand mike usually hidden in their shirt.

When my clever wife was approached by one of the female guards as she was about to enter the women’s section, the guard asked her if she had any weapons in the Shabbat bag she was carrying. She replied the weapon I have is my siddur (prayer book).

I had some of my latest books with me to give to the synagogue officials: “Unusual Bible Interpretations: Jonah and Amos” and “Unusual Bible Interpretations: Ruth, Esther, and Judith.” I asked the president if I can give him a copy of each. He said he would like to have them, but is not allowed to touch items given to him, lest they be a bomb. So he called over one of his guards to take the books to make sure they were harmless. The guard took the books and rushed outside the synagogue with them.

This prompted me to think: true there was no physical bomb in the two books, but many people will no doubt find intellectual bombs in them.