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Lest I Forget

A third daughter was born in Newport, KY to Ida and Dr. Jacob Raphaelson. Jacob wrote 5 books and many articles on myopia, but I also remember dad cranking his first car, and old Overland. Also I remember having the first shower in our neighborhood. I secretly invited the poor neighborhood kids to participate.

When we moved to South Avondale, I remember my feelings of inadequacy. North Avondale students lived in more attractive homes and some even went away to summer camps. I was really envious of the latter. Since my parents joined a conservative synagogue and in those days girls were not invited to learn, I joined the nearest Reformed Temple, Rockdale, within walking distance.

How I admired the chief Rabbi, Rabbi Phillipson. He was like a god! He was 7 feet tall (or so I thought), handsome, austere, remote, brilliant. His beard, hair and face were silvery. He looked like a god!

When I was confirmed, he whispered something in my ear, a sacred secret, never to be repeated: it was thrilling.

I begged my unsophisticated mother to have a celebration and serve cookies and lemonade. I had heard that the Rabbi visited the homes of all confirmants.

The night finally arrived. I waited impatiently. I kept opening the door and gazing forlornly into the darkness. He never arrived. Later I learned he only visited if your family were members.

Since then, I think I lost my trust in God and to this very day I cannot remember the sacred secret Rabbi Phillipson whispered in my ear!

Virginia Raphaelson Felson
May 22, 2002