Wow, fun few days. Busy, but fun.
The sequence started with a lecture by Gerard Evan. I am very privileged that I consider a technical lecture directly related to my work to be fun and bounce-worthy, but this one really was. Evan is an excellent speaker and having made a major breakthrough some years ago, is now working on something possibly even more exciting. And he was really friendly and falling over himself to lend reagents when I spoke to him briefly after the talk.
Said lecture made me late for the institute Christmas party, which in practice meant I missed the boring bit and arrived just in time to grab a plate of food before they cleared away the buffet. Then there was a kind of disco-y bit, which was highly enjoyable. I'm old enough and confident enough to enjoy dancing even though I'm bad at it, and the music was good cheese. The dress code had specified suit and tie so in my usual obedient way I was dressed relatively formally with a skirt and blouse, which seemed unsuitable for a disco. Especially as most other people had ignored the dress code and come either in evening dress or work clothes. So I unbound my hair as the best concession I could come up with, and the two colleagues with me both moved to touch it and then corrected themselves to more socially acceptable expressions of approval. That was very gratifying!
Friday night was the first candle of chanukah and a Progressive service with a meal and chanukah party. Led by R Rebecca Qassim-Birk, an English Liberal rabbi whom I know slightly through Jewish geography, and who is very cool. It was a beautiful service, and the food was tasty (homemade doughnuts!), and I had lots of good social interactions with people I get on with, and R Qassim-Birk's educational bits were up to her usual high standard. This was followed up by an equally wonderful service and study session today. The Progressive group, which even a few months ago was just a small group of friends trying to establish something, is really taking off. We ended up with a congregation of 150, while to everyone's embarrassment the "main" service didn't manage to make a quorum.
I have managed to get myself invited to the secret Talmud study cabal which one of the emeritus rabbis runs here. This involves a couple of dozen old-school European intellectual types who are deeply immersed in Jewish culture but mostly areligious; they have been meeting once a month for upwards of a decade(!) A really fascinating group, and I'm incredibly flattered to be included! I think I kept my end up, even though a lot of the discussion was in Swedish. At some point the study session segued into a chanukah party. It seems like every time I write about the Stockholm Jewish community I am discovering another hidden group who are much more my sort of people than the obvious public face of the community.
Oh yeah, and happy chanukah to everyone who celebrates it.