Searches make my day

28 02 2007

Here are the most amusing recent searches:

~Where would a jew want to visit — I have no idea what would cause someone to ask this on google, but I just find it amusing.  The idea that there are places that all Jews would clearly want to visit is just so silly.  Like you could get everyone to agree on that.

~fun to read jews–  Hee, I’m totally the second hit on Google for this.  *snerk*

~funny stories of christians dating jews — Ooh, there was this one time, and …  Mm, yeah, not so much here.  Sorry. 

~amusing funny prayer before dinner —  All I can think of it “Yay G-d, lets eat!” with the little flag waving motion that generally goes with “And they were forced to eat Sir Robin’s minstrel.  And there was much rejoicing.  (yay!)” In other news, is it bad that I know all the words to the Brave Sir Robin song?  Both the first half (He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways…) and the second (Brave Sir Robin turned about, and gallantly he chickened out….)  Ok, make that “all the words to that entire movie.  including the Knights who until recently said Nee”  Actually, come to think of it, I know most of Life of Brian too.  (“It says: “Romans go home.’ ”  “No it doesn’t, it says ‘The people called the Romans, they go the house’ “)

~Jason Robert Brown and religion —  I think he’s Jewish, but I’m not 100% sure on that.  I care less now that I’ve realized he’s way too old to be my dream guy.  And sadly, Josh Groban is only half Jewish (on his father’s side, and he was raised Christian.  Darn it. *searchs frantically for compromise that she knows is there to be made*)

~what can i offer as a convert jew- Ok, so it’s not funny, but this search doesn’t send you to the post where I actually talk about this.  Here’s the real post on this subject.  And here’s the follow up to that post. 


Well, this may explain some things

27 02 2007

People have always told me that I’m argumentative.  I think I’ve finally realized why that is, after looking at how I answer comments here.  I tend to answer everything anyone says with some other point that contradicts what they’ve said.  I very rarely say “yes, you’re completely right, thanks.” and leave it at that.  I do that in real life too, and I’ve never thought of it as being particularly argumentative, or as being indicative of my somehow needing to always be right.  I frequently do acknowledge that the other person made a good point, but as far as I’m concerned things rarely end there.  There’s no discussion if I don’t ask more questions, or try to find the holes in their argument.  If everyone just accepts what they’re told, it seems pretty boring to me.  Because of that, all my responses to everything tend to be along the lines of “Yes, but…” or even “I don’t think so, because”. 

 Apparently (and I honestly didn’t realize this before) some people see that as an attack on what they believe, or worse, on them as a person.  Anyway, I just thought I would clarify that if I mean to be rude or attacking, there will be no mistaking that that’s what I’m doing.  I have a fairly large and creative vocabulary, and am pretty good at coming up with new and inventive ways to rip people to shreds when they deserve it (and my threshold for that is pretty high).  Anything short of that, and you can be sure that I’m genuinely asking a question, and would be intersted in the answer. 

Now, if only I can get the people who know me in person to realize that…. 

People who don’t think things through bother me.

26 02 2007

OK, maybe someone else can explain this to me, since it makes NO SENSE to me. 

My friend who has informed me in no uncertain terms (I believe the phrase was “You’re way too smart to fall for that”) that I am a traitor to all women by converting to Orthodox Judaism, is so worried about appearing tacky while she’s abroad in Jordan this semester that she’s unwilling to ask a man she doesn’t know for directions.  This is not a safety concern, since she said that the worst that would have happened was she would get hit on, just that she didn’t want to seem like a tourist.  What?  My actions are the equivalent of spitting in the face of the suffragettes, but people who arn’t willing to let women ask a man for directions are people we have to be worried about seeming tacky in front of?  How is it that it’s ok for people in Jordan to effectivly keep women in a box (because if you can’t talk to strange men in public, you are in a box.  What if you get lost, you have no way to get help.) but it’s completely out of line for me to be ok with not reading Torah in public?  It seems like one of these is way more restrictive than the other.  *headdesk* 

Ok, I’m done ranting now.  Go back to your regularly scheduled programming. 

Just Checking In

25 02 2007

When you walk past someone you know on the path, you tend to have the following conversation.

A: Hi!

B:Hi. How are you?

A: Good, you?

B: Good. 

A: Good, have a good day!

B: You too!

The second half of this conversation is generally yelled over your shoulder, or straight ahead, without even bothering to look back.  Also, it tends not to matter how the people actually are, the script stays the same.  That’s because the point of this conversationisn’t to find out how the person is, but to reaffirm the relationship of the two people having it.  It’s irrelevant that person A woke up this morning with the flu, and just barely dragged himself out of bed, and that person B is having a fight with her parents,  they say the same words.  The semantics aren’t actually saying anything about how the two people are, they’re saying that they are still friends with each other.  That at some point in the future, when they have more time, they do care about how the other person is.  It’s the constant use of these tiny little conversations, that on their own don’t communicate any information, that allows us to have the bigger ones.  We can talk to people when we need to, because we are constantly reminded that these people do care by the little everyday “meaningless” interactions we have on the path. 

It occur to me the other day, that there’s probably the same benefit to davening every day.  If you’re not used to having the everyday “meaningless” conversations with G-d, then when you need to have the bigger conversations, you don’t know how.  You don’t have the relationship established, or the words to use.  It doesn’t matter that you’re only doing it because you have to, that you’re rushing through it just to get to go eat breakfast, or to any one of the million other things that you have to do that day.  Even if your mind isn’t on the words, even if you have no focus or kavanah at all, you’re establishing a connection.  You’re making a statement that you still care, that you’re there.  Once you have the habit of these tiny little connections, the big ones don’t seem as overwhelming. 

All in all, a wonderful Shabbat

24 02 2007

So, I went into Shabbat this week not looking forward to it at all.  I was half expecting to spend the whole day in my room moping and eating cold food, since I didn’t think Chabad was doing anything (turns out I had just deleted the email by accident) and I’m really wasn’t interested in going to Hillel (for a lot of social reasons) so I was just going to daven in my room, and then sleep as much of the day as I could. 

Fortunately, I found out Friday afternoon that I had just missed the email, and headed to Chabad with a friend for the evening.  It was a wonderful evening, and I got to meet a bunch of new people, and catch up with some old ones.  Also, I went back for lunch today, and I think they were really glad to see me again. I sometimes feel like I’m intruding by being there, since I’m not currently in the group of students they’re trying to support, but when I told them Friday evening that I was coming back for lunch, they seemed genuinely pleased, and then when I left today they said that they were happy to see me today.

Anyway, we had a really interesting discussion at lunch about politics.  Opinion was pretty divided, and it was in many ways more of a passionate argument than anything else.  It really highlighted what I love most about that group, since we can have these long argument/discussions and at the end of it, everyone still likes and respects everyone else.  I wish more people could be like that, since it’s a great was to have a debate.  True, at the end of it, no one’s mind is really changed, but we all see the arguments from the other side, and understand where they’re coming from. 

Anyway, after lunch I read in my room for a while, and then went to Hillel for havdallah, which was actually really fun.  We made kosher smores, and them made Spice boxes (both after havdallah, obviously).  So I now have a havdallah candle, and a spice box.  I’m slowly acquiring all the Judaica I need.   Very slowly, but still.  And my spice box has googly eyes on it.  Does it get any better than that?  I think not!

Shavua Tov!

How NOT to go about converting

22 02 2007

When your in the process of converting, you get countless books recommended/required that you read. Many of these are quite good, but every once and a while one is just plain awful.
The most recent of these that I ran across was “Stranger in the Midst” by Nan Fink (The co-founder of Tikkun Magazine) This book is (as near as I can tell) her complaint that the Jewish community has not been as welcoming to her as she would have liked, which isn’t too surprising since she seems to expect that everyone around her would drop everything to make her feel both welcome, and popular. Now, I’ve found that the community has been quite welcoming, but I also havn’t just sat around waiting to be included. I make a real effort to go out and be involved in events, and to meet people and be friendly and outgoing, as much as it goes against my personality (I don’t like talking to people I don’t know, at all). I feel like Ms. Fink made several fairly big mistakes, and no where in this whole book does she mention them.  First off, she was studying with a conservative rabbi, for what she makes sound like years and years, but if you go through and work out the timeline, I believe it was about 9 or 10 months.  That rabbi then sends her to an orthodox (charedi) rabbi in Jerusalem, who (big surprise) tells her that he will require she study with him for a year at least, and then he’ll convert her.  She is shocked an appalled by this for some reason, and decides not to convert with him, but to go back to the states and convert with the rabbi at the orthodox shul she’s attending with the then boyfriend she was living with.  Yes, that’s right, she’s living with a Jewish boyfriend before she’s converted.  Anyone who’s in the conversion process can tell you that’s not a great idea, and that’s probably the source of some of the enmity she feels from the community. 

Now, here she does have a legitimate grievance.  She started to receive hate mail from some members of the community, telling her that she wasn’t wanted, and that she should leave.  Hate mail is over the line regardless of how the community felt about her.  That said, she did nothing to fix the problem.  When she approached the rabbi at the shul to discuss conversion (when she informed him that she felt she was ready to convert right away, and just wanted the whole thing over with as fast as possible) he said that he wouldn’t even consider converting her until she patched things up with the community at least to the point where they could get along.  She said that she had had tried (although nowhere does she say what she had done) and she wanted him to make them like her.  He refused saying that this was something only she could do, and suggested several concrete things to try, like participating in shul events and committees, etc.  She said (to the reader, not the rabbi) that she already spent all of Shabbat at shul, and didn’t feel like she should have to spend more time there, and that she didn’t want to spend months setting up chairs just to get people to like her.  Now there are several issues here, first of which is that she practically demanded to be converted.  Anyone with any common sense should know that that’s a horrible idea.  What sort of ground does she have to make a demand like that? I understand saying “I’ve been studying for x amount of time, I know these subjects, I observe these things.  I really don’t want to put off converting any longer than I have to, since I want to be able to fully be a part of the community.” which communicates more or less the same thing (you want to convert as fast as possible) but does it in a much more polite manner.  Second, why is she converting if she doesn’t want to be part of a community?  I already discussed this at length here, but it really applies here. She’s not an exception to my theory that orthodox converts don’t act like that, since she quickly  (within a month or so) gives up on the Orthodox conversion, and moves to working with a rabbi who agrees to convert her within a month. 

She then takes all of that, and the fact that the orthodox community pulls away from her when she divorces her husband (the boyfriend she was living with), starts a lesbian relationship with a non-Jewish woman, and abandons all observance, to show that the Jewish community doesn’t like converts.  This perception really frustrates me, since it’s the source of many of the objections my family has to me converting (I’ll never find a husbend, and never have children).  I can’t decide if I should feel bad that Ms Fink didn’t find the community she was looking for in Judaism, or if I should feel like it’s really her own fault for coming in with expectations that in no way matched reality. 

Anyway, if you guys have any GOOD books about people’s experiences with orthodox conversions, I’d love to get some.  However, I would stay away from “Stranger in the Midst”

In other news, my warm weather is gone.  It’s snowing again….  Stupid winter….

Inappropriate Shabbat Themes

21 02 2007

Yesterday, for those of you how missed it, was Mardi Gras, which means that this week Hillel is hosting “Mardi Gras Shabbat”, with chicken sausage jambalya.  That’s right, we’re having a Shabbat dinner to celebrate a Catholic Holiday!  I think this could be the start of a whole series of Shabbatot (Is that the correct plural?  I feel like Shabbat is feminine, but it looks masculine. Irregular perhaps?)  that are themed around other religions holidays.  For example:  Ascension ThursdayShabbat: Communion wafers for motzi!.  Ramadan Shabbat: Only grape juice for kiddush, and no Shabbos lunch, but a wild party in the evening!    Kwanzaa Shabbat:  Multicolored Shabbos candles.   Saturnalia Shabbat.  (Actually the Latin class at my highschool celebrated Saturnalia every year.  They sacrificed a lamb shaped cake with raspberry filling.  It was delicious.) I think this is a great idea, really working on interfaith understanding 🙂  Any other great ideas? 

Anyway, the weather here is beautiful today.  It was a balmy 32 degrees out!  All the snow is melting, and it was sunny and gorgeous.   What a day.