I was in Mongolia for the eclipse of 1997. It occurred to me that I was one of vanishingly few Judeans in the country. So I thought of declaring myself Chief Rabbi of Mongolia. But rabbis have to be trained and actually know something so I couldn’t claim to be a rabbi even of Mongolia.
However there are no such requirements to be a former rabbi. So I cut past the training part and the rabbi part, and started my rabbinical career as Former Chief Rabbi of Mongolia. Which I was and am fully qualified to be. It is a title I bear proudly to this day.
There are no actual perks to the office except being able to ask for the Clergyman’s Discount—a discount invented by my Uncle Sol while shopping in a drugstore in Minneapolis in 1968.
And it makes me as legitimately a rabbi as Mr. Lerner, the head of Tikkun, who is just as much qualified to be a rabbi as I am. Maybe it’s time for Michael to ‘fess up and become a Former Rabbi too. I’ll even cut him in on my Clergyman’s Discount.