Yes, I know, I didn’t make the list of the Fifty Most Influential Rabbis in the US. I’m as shocked as you are. I went on Newsweek.com where the list was published and read it over and over again. I wasn’t on it.
Am I hurt? Disappointed? Disheartened? I might be if any of my friends made the list, but since they didn’t make the cut either I can ignore the whole thing. But I’ll tell you what really makes me feel better: I’m number 51. If the list had been a bit longer, even one rabbi longer, I would have made it. How do I know? I can’t imagine it any other way.
After all my poems appear in thousands of prayer books around the country. My books are studied in synagogues, colleges, and private homes throughout the English-speaking world. My seminars and classes max out, and I am in demand not only among Jewish groups but among a growing number of churches as well. How could I not be # 51?
True, when I called Michael Lynton, Chairman of Sony Pictures who is one of the three Jews who created the list, to confirm my status I was told that Mr. Lynton was unavailable. But when I called back for the twelfth time I was diverted to a voice mail message that said, “If this is Rabbi Rami please press #51.” When I did so I was disconnected from Sony, but the command to press 51 cannot be an accident.
So what will I do with my newfound fame? First I want to find out who was #52. This guy is a real loser. I mean it is one thing to be just one out, but two… please! I made my own list of who is below me. I won’t share it with you here because I don’t want to shame those who are on it, but between you and me, this is the more important list. I don’t really care who is better than me. I’m humble enough to admit that Rabbi Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, deserves to be higher than me on the list. It just makes me feel good to know that Rabbi Moshe Gross, director of Jamba Jews, an organization supporting Israeli citrus growers, is below me.
Second, I want to take out a full-page ad in the New York Times thanking Lynton and his friends for recognizing me as number fifty-one. I think this act of gratitude will not only please the makers of the list and influence them to bump me up a notch in their next list, it will also help increase my book sales and seminar attendance.
The problem is I can’t afford the ad. So I am turning to you, loyal readers, to help out. No, I’m not going ask you for money to purchase this ad. That will take too long. Rather I am asking you to take a black bold-point Sharpie to your local newsstand and write the following on page two of the Times: Thanks for Making Rabbi Rami #51. If it turns out that defacing the Times is illegal, and you are caught doing this, I will deny ever having said this. This blog will self-destruct in less time than it takes you to forget the fact that Hier is higher than me on the stupid list about which no one in his or her right mind cares about anyway. Stupid list. Stupid, stupid, stupid list.
I appreciate your help. Thanks.