The Reverend Susan McGarry will deliver the annual Rabbi Victor E. Reichert Bible Talk at the Ripton Community Church at 4 pm on Sunday, October 26. For the past two years Reverend McGarry has served as the rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on the Green in Middlebury and has a PhD in Ancient and Biblical Studies from the University of Michigan. In keeping with the Rabbi’s tradition, Reverend McGarry has entitled her presentation “A Talk About the First Mass Market Text in the Bible,” challenging her listeners to discern what “text” that might actually be.
“We will be examining divine revelations and their progress toward useful community literature. ‘What was said, when was it said, and how it was recorded,’ are all-important questions for Bible study. When and how the biblical material becomes useful to the community will be the subject of this talk as well as the more speculative question, ‘why.’”
The annual Reichert Bible Talk is a tradition that reaches back to the years just after World War Two, when poet Robert Frost invited Rabbi Reichert to visit him at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference in Ripton. Frost had met Reichert while giving a reading in Cincinnati, where Reichert was rabbi of the Rockdale Temple, the oldest synagogue west of the Alleghenies, from 1924 to 1964. Their friendship deepened, and Rabbi Reichert and his wife Louise eventually bought an old one-room schoolhouse near Bread Loaf as a summer cottage. For many summers, the Reicherts attended the nearby Ripton Methodist Church, and Rabbi Reichert would give a talk in the late summer on one of the books of the Jewish Bible, of those scriptures common to Jews and Christians. The “Bible Talk” became an annual event, and the Ripton congregation named Reichert the church’s “Rabbi in Residence.” Since Rabbi Reichert’s passing in 1990 at the age of ninety-three, Havurah—The Jewish Community of Addison County, and the United Methodist Church of Middlebury, East Middlebury and Ripton have collaborated to sustain this ecumenical tradition, co-sponsoring the Bible Talk every year.
The Ripton Community Church is located on Route 125 in the village center. Call Norm Tjossem at 802-388-0338 for further information.