So some thoughts/happenings to share.
1. Happy tu b'shvat (well it was yesterday, but I started writing it then and had computer troubles, so happy belated tu b'shvat)! Tu b'shvat is the new years for the trees. Today to celebrate HUC had a little thing with lots of fruits and nuts. I learned that while you say the blessing for wine or grape juice as borei pri hagafen (blessing God for being the creator of fruits of the vine) BUT when you are eating a grape or a raisin you say borei pri ha'etz (for God as creator of the fruits of the tree). crazy. Also bananas you say the blessing for them as fruits of the earth (not tree or whatever) because bananas don't actually grow on trees. Also there is a type of locust that is kosher but only yemenite Jews can tell which ones so they are the only ones that eat them, or at least that is how it was explained to me. So much crazy stuff. wooo trees
2. (I don't know why I decided to number this entry, but I'm going with it.) I was kind of coerced into going to this workshop at school called "praying with the body." Now I was totally not looking forward to it, because I am not so into the whole hippie-dippie, touchy-feely stuff in terms of prayer. BUT it was actually pretty cool. We did this activity where we had to cross part of the room, about 15 feet, but in 35 minutes. So we had to do everything is sloooooow motion. While I was critical at first and couldn't believe I would have to do this activity, I actually really enjoyed it. It was so interesting to be so slow and so deliberate with your movements. It was also very calming. The dynamic was interesting since we did it in a group so we were all going together albeit in different directions. It was both tiring and calming, I def felt super zen afterwards. Then we spoke about it in relation to prayer. I think this would be a cool activity to do with a group of people in the future. Tamar, who taught us, said that when she was a participant in this workshop they had 3 hours to do it!! I def could have gone longer than 35 minutes, but whoa!
3. I just read this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-jason-miller/gabby-giffords-jewish_b_808246.html . It's worth a read. If you don't feel like reading it I will tell you it talks about Representative Gifford's Jewishness. In the news it has been emphasized that she is the Jewish politician. She is also very active in her (reform) synagogue, etc. The "problem" is, is that her father is Jewish and her mother isn't. According to traditional halacha Judaism is passed on through the mother. So according to traditional halacha Giffords isn't Jewish. This drives me nuts, it is so upsetting for me that dedicated Jews are excluded because the "wrong parent" is Jewish. In the Reform movement, which is one of the things I am really proud about, we accept BOTH matralinial and patralinial descent. So if either parent is Jewish and you identify as a Jew, you are all set. The rabbi who wrote the article is a conservative rabbi and therefore is not able to officially recognize Giffords as a Jew, which he is clearly struggling with. It just makes me mad when enthusiastic and dedicated Jews are excluded because of this, I mean Judaism has alienated enough people, I think it's time to stop. (Also wishing a continued and full recovery to Representative Giffords).
4. As many of you may know, Debbie Friedman (z"l) passed away a few weeks ago. I did not know her, but I've been thinking about how much she did for prayer and Jewish music in Reform Judaism, but not limited to our movement. She has so so so many great songs. One particular memory I have of Debbie Friedman's music is that when I was younger on shabbat evening my mom would put in a Debbie Friedman tape and my brother and I would dance around the room. It was a great way to celebrate shabbat, and it was fun. I clearly enjoyed it because I still remember it happening. There are lots of songs we sing in services that are Debbie Friedman and I had no idea, she's just made so many great melodies that have been incorporated in. Her influence will live on in all these great songs and memories.
5. I started reading Snooki's book...it's pretty silly. They actually use abbreviations in the text of the book, like nabe=neighborhood. That's a bit scary to me, but yeah, more to come.
6. Well it's almost shabbat, so it's time for me to go. Shabbat shalom
ps I miss comments, leave me some if you feel compelled. Tell me what you think :-)