I have been blessed in my life by having two “Rebbies.” That’s a term of endearment used by congregants for their Rabbi. Interestingly enough, they were both cultural Jews and not clergy, but they were very important to me and my spiritual journey.
Mort Satten, PhD, CP was a Clinical Practitioner of Psychodrama (If you don’t know what that means, it’s not important to the story). He was a Licensed PhD, TEP touched thousands of lives during their forty plus years of providing workshops and therapy, internationally. I frequently have said they saved my psychological life, because they did.
Flashback: I had only been with Mort once before, when I drove to Frankfort International Airport, Frankfort am Main, to meet him and Dorothy. As an Army Chaplain, I had contracted with them to come to Kaiserslautern West Germany where I was stationed to do ten days of workshops. Our first time together was at a “five day” in Mannheim, WG a year before. He had seen me do some of my therapy work and we had become friends in that time. We also hung out in the Gasthaus bar in the evenings playing low stakes poker. That made him my kind of guy.
International arrivals passengers go from the part of the terminal where they deplane to the passport control/customs area which is separated from those awaiting them by bulletproof, Plexiglas walls. I watched as he and Dorothy cleared immigration and then found their suitcases to go through customs. Then they would be free to leave and we could be on the Autobahn to my home.
Mort saw me after he got his bags and walked over to the “glass” wall where I waited on the other side. Without saying anything, he placed his right hand against the wall and I placed my left “against” his. Our souls touched. His gentle smile and warm caring eyes enfolded me into his love. I can still feel it as I write this to you.
That began a unique journey of relationship and intimacy that has lasted for decades. Late in his life, he informed me and another Army Chaplain/Psychodrama groupie, Glenn Sammis, he wanted us to do his funeral, and we did.
I remember much of what he taught me. The memories of watching him direct dramas, chow down on Texas barbeque, sharing his life story and so many other events continue to warm me. I’m a better man because he allowed me to be his friend. I learned from him how to relate to women in asexual ways and not cross therapeutic boundaries. I reveled in watching him model how to love a woman with his beloved Dorothy. My relationship with my universe has been greatly enriched by my Rebbie, Mort. Life would have been so much less without him. Someday, I hope someone can truthfully say the same about me.