We had picked up a rental car on Friday. After I turned in the van, we drove back to Culver City and checked into our hotel for two nights. We then met our old friend Susan Lindau at the Inn of the Seventh Ray, a place that was a favorite romantic rendezvous for P and me when we lived in LA 30+ years ago. Still a lovely place, though they warned us there would be a wedding there and, after a while, they were playing music which was not conducive to the usual quiet mood of the place.
Monday, July 4, we visited the Mastodons at the Tar Pits , then spent several hours at the LA County Museum of Art. Alizette was particularly interested in seeing the Tim Burton exhibit (which had previously been at MOMA in NYC) and then we checked out some other art. Then we had an early dinner at the Fish Grill on Beverly, one of a chain of four kosher fish places. Good fish at a good price. Paula says we need one in Brooklyn. We went back to the hotel, then out to find a vantage point to see fireworks in Culver City, a nice display. I figured out where there was a neighborhood park with a good view, yet kept us from getting caught in a huge traffic jam afterwards.
Tuesday, our last day in LA, we connected with a few more old friends, Miriam (with lunch at a Persian grill restaurant) and Shahnaz (with a visit to the Pacific Ocean at Venice Beach.
That is the California part of the trip. A and I took Amtrak east with stops at the Grand Canyon and Chicago. I plan to post a second blog about that soon. (less than the month it took to get this one up)
(I've posted photos before, but now Livejournal says the post is too large if I include photos.)
The Aleph Kallah was held in Redlands, CA, June 27-July 3, 2011.( Read more...Collapse )
( Read more...Collapse )
I am taking two classes each day, for four days. In the morning I am taking a class in Jewish Musical Shamanism with Richard Kaplan. This included sharing and discussion on how music affects both our own spirituality and how we interact with others. We also learned a number of songs which Richard has collected from around the world, from both Jewish and other sources. At the end of the week we performed a few of them for the Kallah. In the afternoon David Seidenberg taught a combination of teachings from Rebbe Nachman of Breslav about serving God with dance together with actually doing various dances, ranging from traditional Hassidic dances to modern dances.
Evenings were full of talent, often with a choice of several programs.( Read more...Collapse )
Dvar Torah - NASO
Shabbat Shalom! Good Shabbos!
At the heart of parashat Naso are the rules of the Nazirite. Unlike a kohen (priest) who has to be born into the priesthood--anyone can become a Nazirite. All you have to do is to make a vow--a promise that for a certain time (at least 30 days)--you will not cut your hair, drink or eat anything from grapes, or have contact with a dead body.
There is a big debate about whether taking the vow of a Nazirite is a good idea or not.
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I connect to Samson because I Remember when I was a little girl. I had really long hair—but my mom had to cut it because it got lice. Even though I begged her not to, she had to. I hated that, cuz I loved my long hair, and I was so upset to lose it. Part of my identity was changed by someone on the outside. This is a little like what happened for Samson--who didn't have any say about whether he wanted to be a Nazirite.
I still wish I had my long hair, but it was worth it.
When you get to choose what you want to do (even taking Nazirite vow) you feel like you’ll feel happy/successful with you choice. You are doing what you want to do. It is your own thing.
But if someone (even your parents or G) forces you—it’s like they are locking up your freedom. They can have what they want, but it may not be what you want. If that’s the case, the very thing that may make you proud if you chose it (like long hair) can make you uncomfortable/embarrassed cuz it makes you stand out and it wasn’t your choice.
Judaism –for me—was a choice. I remember deciding I wanted to be Jewish (after all, I wanted to be something since I was not born having a religion at all, and my dad really liked being Jewish)—I thought it may inspire me and help me to think more outside of the box. I thought that would be cool.
And you know what, it is.
It’s my thing. EVEN IF MAKES ME DIFFERENT. . . .IT MEANS SOMETHING TO ME
That is why I'm here today, celebrating my Bat Mitzvah. Because this is important to me.
And I hope that I (and you) always have the courage to do what is important to us--to show it to others--even if it makes us a little different.
A couple of weeks ago there was an evening at the Jewish Theological Seminary in honor of my teacher Rabbi Neil Gillman on the occasion of his retirement. Since there was another event for that a year or two ago, I’m not sure exactly what the occasion was. I think the first time was his retirement from full time faculty status, and this from teaching at all, but I’m just speculating. The evening was called “Doing Jewish Theology.”
The first part of the evening was a panel with Rabbis Gordon Tucker ( also former Dean of the Rab. School and philosophy faculty, as well as rabbi in
( The opening panel...Collapse )
Neil Gillman Responds
His intention is to review the trajectory of his career – beginning with his encounter with Will Herberg in 1953 at McGill U in Montreal, which made him interested in Jewish thought (as opposed to general philosophy). He has been at JTS since 1954 as a student or teacher, more than half the life of JTS, measured since Solomon Schechter arrived in 1902.
He notes that he spent years going around saying that there was little theology at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He now feels that there was much theology at JTS,. It underpinned everything, but little trickled down to the classroom. “I found the theology because I was hungry for it and went looking for it.”
( What Neil shared...Collapse )
This was a stimulating and exciting, but also sad evening, the drawing to the close of an era and a brilliant teaching career. The room was full of people who have been touched by Neil, and full of love.