We're making a new prayerbook, and the leader of the siddur committee very sensibly wants to kick us into working on that seriously, not just speculating about what would be nice. So we have two full evenings this month just for hacking on that. It was a fun meeting, the group get on really well, but in truth none of us had quite done the preparation we said we were going to. So at some point in the next two weeks I need to find time for serious resource gathering for the next meeting. *sigh*
Lecture was part of a three-part series on the three denominations currently active in Stockholm. They had the cantor (who is a good cantor, but not a brilliant public speaker) who was organizing present Conservative Judaism, the new Orthodox rabbi Orthodox Judaism, and one of the highly active Progressive people present Progressive Judaism, with me tagging along to demonstrate diversity and help answer the questions. The problem was that the talk was not advertised in the most obvious places, and where it was advertised both the time and the location were incorrect. With the nasty rainstorm capping off a dark November evening, it's not exactly surprising that we didn't get a good turnout. (This isn't any kind of attack on the Progressive group, it's just that the community is not always very good at internal communication.) But the four people we did get seemed genuinely interested, and did not as I feared start out with a bunch of negative preconceptions about how Progressive Judaism isn't real Judaism. One of them decided she wanted to join our mailing list and get involved, so I suppose you could count that as a success.
I was stressed that I didn't really have time to prepare properly for my class yesterday evening. I ended up with a meeting with a collaborator at Stockholm University right slap in the middle of the day (it was supposed to be first thing in the morning, which would have allowed me the afternoon to go back to my lab, but got moved to 11 o'clock). So I found myself in a random campus on the wrong side of town, with an awkward two-hour gap, so I curled up in a quiet corner of the Student Union with Little List and finished off outlining a class on Torah for the evening. The class went really well, people just got excited about it and had some really buzzy discussions. I posed the question of why we attach so much value to the Torah when most of us don't believe it's the literal word of God. And people tried various answers (and diverted into a huge debate about whether holiness is about the way we treat our sacred objects, or something intrinsic to the holy things, and what God has to do with all this anyway) but eventually agreed that it's a matter of faith. Thanks a million to hatam_soferet for providing nearly all the material, and then saying nice things about my success in presenting her material <3
Today I have to give a lab meeting, which I haven't prepared properly, but even if I had it would only be masking the fact that I don't actually have any data. So instead I intend to just say, I've spent the last couple of months fiddling with technical problems and I don't have any data. And Joanna has very kindly agreed to take on a lot of the organization (eg buying food and preparing it) for this evening, so at least that's one less thing that I absolutely can't cram into the hours available this week.