Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al (livredor) wrote,
Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al

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I'm still working the temp job I mentioned in a locked post, and the contract has been extended at least through next week. So I still don't have much time for LJ. So, a summary of what I've been up to in the past week:

  • Last Saturday I joined the Progressive students for the first of what they hope to be regular sessions, meeting in someone's room after shul to study the day's Torah reading with Rashi's commentary. (Rashi is a weird mixture between useful, random but cool, and annoying, and interesting to come to "cold" with a group who mostly have little familiarity with the mediaeval commentators.) As I've mentioned before the Progressive students are a good crowd, and it was a very productive and enjoyable study session. There was cake and good discussions, yay.

  • I finally managed to win a game of Civ2! Well, win in the sense of getting my spaceship to Alpha Centauri, which is one of the possible overall goals. Probably most people who understand what I'm talking about are not going to be very impressed, but hey; I've been addicted to the game for many years and I've never done as well as I did last week, so I wanted to record it. I think detailed strategy discussions I've been having with such people as neonchameleon, synergetic and rysmiel likely contributed.

  • I went to a Holocaust Memorial Day event on Thursday evening. I felt obliged to attend but really I dislike that kind of thing. Children getting up on stage to read their essays about what they imagine it would have been like to be a Jewish child in Hitler's Germany or a Kindertransport refugee, so that the audience can coo over how cute they are, just makes me cringe. And a violinist playing some vaguely eastern European sounding laments in a minor key (with bad amplification) and various choral groups singing sad songs feels like cheap emotional manipulation, rather than anything meaningful in terms of education or commemoration or whatever. Also, tacking on mentions of "oh yeah, and we remember the genocide in Rwanda too" as an appeasement to people who think remembering the Holocaust is giving Jews too much special treatment, is not particularly respectful to the victims in Rwanda. Not to mention really badly giving the lie to the idea that we are marking Holocaust Memorial Day in order to make sure we learn the lessons of history so that nothing like that ever happens again...

    What I did like about the event was that they had invited some Gypsy / Romany / Traveller (yes, that is how the organizers designated them) speakers as well. That I think was worthwhile, because the Gypsy side of the story is really not well enough known, and also because prejudice against Gypsies is an issue today whereas antisemitism has become (at least publicly) unacceptable.

  • I like my shower gel at the moment. I tend to grab any shower gel that isn't vastly expensive or actively revolting, but at random I picked one that is scented with cinnamon, juniper and ginger. None of those are things I would immediately think of putting on my skin, but I guess they're in small enough amounts to be scented without being astringent. Anyway, I'm going about smelling faintly of mulled wine, which is pleasing. It occurs to me that it might be intended to be for guys, cos spice scents are more usually marketed to men than women. But if this is the case I don't care; I don't really get gendering cosmetics!

  • I had a very pleasant shabbat. I went to a Friday night in north London, with a social group that is just starting up for Reform young people. It was very nice, hosted by a rabbi and her family, so it was more like a family Friday night with a lot of guests than a formal event. Both the hosts and the guests are very nice, and the group seem very much like my kind of people, in general and in their approach to Judaism.

    Then I headed to lethargic_man's place. I think every time I see him I'm more glad to spend time with him; the awkwardness of reinventing our relationship as friends rather than a couple is getting less with time, which makes it all the more obvious how well we get on. I arrived a bit later than I'd planned on Friday evening, but we ended up talking and making eachother laugh instead of going straight to sleep.

    And then Saturday morning we went to lethargic_man's shul, something I've been meaning to do for ages and never got round to. Lovely, lovely community; I can completely see why lethargic_man is so well suited there. It's a good size, big enough to be viable but small enough that everybody has a personal stake in it. And it's lay led, by a group who are committed and knowledgeable and musical. But what's really nice about it is a general atmosphere of people who want to be there and are having fun, whether it's playing around with musical harmonies so they're almost jamming, or being genuinely pleased to see everyone.

    Someone commented that it must be very different from what I'm used to, coming from a Reform background, but actually there are more similarities than differences with my particular bit of the Reform world. My community is likewise lay led, and has plenty of resources of musical and knowledgeable people, and is able and keen to be independent from the central movement. And even liturgically, well, Beth Shalom is to the right of the Progressive spectrum, and Assif to the left of Masorti which is itself on the liberal side of the traditional world. So I think both communities fit nicely in the grey area hatam_soferet postulates. Though I think these two communities are much more positive examples than hers; I'm not talking about people who are lonely and don't have enough like-minded people to make a community because of artificial distinctions between denominations.

    Back to lethargic_man's place for a very pleasant, if rather sleepy, afternoon with him and curious_reader. I am very glad I do not live in the world of conventional mores where that situation would be expected to be awkward. In fact, I get on well with curious_reader and we are rapidly overcoming the only potential issue, that she and I both know lethargic_man very well but eachother hardly at all.
  • Tags: quotidian

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