Tradescantia Zebrina .:. The Wandering Jew

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tales and opinions of the wandering Jew

And so it begins!

There’s so much going on these days, I barely have time to stop and take a breath (or sneeze).

Work’s begun, and I’ve jumped right in. I’m excited for all the possibilities, the new people I’ll get to meet, and the lovely people who are my co-workers.

Tomorrow’s the start of Sefer ha-Bloggadah. A bunch of us will be studying Sefer Ha-Aggadah, the book of legends, at a predetermined pace, allowing us to finish learning the whole book in two years. (And celebrate with a siyyum (means “completion,” but is often used to describe the celebration at the culmination of learning a Jewish text) in August, 2010 at the NHC Summer Institute.) There’s a great English translation available for this book, which is basically a compilation of Jewish stories. BZ wrote this introduction when the idea came to fruition a year ago:

2008 is the 100th anniversary of the publication of Sefer Ha-Aggadah (The Book of Legends). Compiled by the Hebrew poet Hayim Nachman Bialik and the editor Yehoshua Ravnitsky, it is a collection of thousands of stories and folklore from the Talmud and throughout rabbinic literature, from the creation of the world to the world to come. At [the 2008 NHC] Institute, people across the extended havurah network [and beyond!] will begin studying Sefer Ha-Aggadah, reading a little bit each day for two years, and completing it at the 2010 Institute.

We’ll be on a daily schedule so that everyone is on the same page. There will be a blog called Sefer ha-Bloggadah so that we can all participate in an online discussion – a rotating team of bloggers can take turns posting each day, and everyone can discuss in the comments. If a lot of us are reading the same texts at the same time, I hope this can manifest itself in other ways as well: discussion groups in our home communities, workshops at NHC regional retreats on whatever topic we’re on that weekend, etc.

I think Sefer Ha-Aggadah is an ideal text for our diverse community. The original edition is in Hebrew, and there is also an accessible English translation, so people with more Hebrew familiarity and people who would benefit from the English translation can participate on an equal footing. Bialik and Ravnitsky were two secular Jews who created this compilation to preserve the Jewish national literature, while most of their source texts are religious in nature, so we’ll have the opportunity to look at these texts from all our different perspectives: religious, literary, historical, ethical, creative, …………..

If you’re so inclined, check your library, Chapters, Amazon, or local bookstore for a copy.

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Filed under: judaism, work

One Response

  1. Good luck with the new job! It sounds like fun.

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