Tradescantia Zebrina .:. The Wandering Jew

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tales and opinions of the wandering Jew

On a snowy day…

Over on Jewschool, there are some great reactions to World Wide Wrap (the tefillin wrapping rap video).

Highlight of the day? Having the cute baby fall asleep on my chest.

Lowlight of the day? headdesking, repeatedly, as I try to be productive.

It’s time for a walk in the snow.

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Filed under: judaism, random, seasons, work

Israel bound

I want to write a post about how I’m going to Israel tomorrow, for work. But each time I’ve tried to start this post, the verb I’ve used hasn’t set the right tone. So I will not strive for poetics. Instead, I’ll say that I’m going, and will be back in New York on January 19th. See you on the other side.

Filed under: israel, judaism, palestine, politics, random, travels, war, work, wtf?

1000 words x 2

Caught up on my photo-uploading. There are now albums from the crazed NY-Mtl-NY move, and autumn in New York.

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Crazy quick road trip and moving. Driving up to Montreal, enjoying the local foods (poutine! bagels!), packing up the uhaul truck, and back down to NYC. Next night: moving furniture from Brooklyn with the roommates. (September) The usual suspects: International Pickle Festival; cruising the waterfalls and a birthday, with parents; prepping for Sukkot, with challot and shopping on the Lower East Side; roomies; foliage; produce from the co-op. (September-November)

Filed under: america, canada, family, friends, good eats, home, judaism, parties, photos, random, seasons, travels

How To Avoid Dying (and other mishegas)

First, cross-posted from Jewschool is a short piece on the power of prayer:

“A study published by researchers at Yeshiva University and its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, strongly suggests that regular attendance at religious services reduces the risk of death by approximately 20%. The findings, published in Psychology and Health, were based on data drawn from participants who spanned numerous religious denominations.

“To evaluate the impact of religiosity on mortality and morbidity, the investigators looked at variables including self-report of religious affiliation, frequency of religious service attendance, and religious strength as well as comfort, in relation to coronary heart disease (CHD) and death. It is important to note that the study did not attempt to measure spirituality; rather, it examined self-report religiosity measures (irrespective of the participant’s religion).

“Those attending religious services at least once per week showed a 20% mortality risk reduction mark compared with those not attending services at all. These findings corroborate prior studies that have shown up to a 25% reduction in such risk.” [Read more.]

I would like to thank the various independent minyanim that I attend on a regular basis for existing as, it seems, they’re to thank for my recent “got off easy” car accident. (What? I’m not properly understanding the conclusions?)

And for some more random fun, highlights from the RSS reader. (I’ve had a lot of time to catch up on the blogs these past couple days…)

Filed under: america, health, homophobia, judaism, politics, queers, random, recipes, wtf?

Glam God (and now for something completely different)

Dear VH1,

My roommate and I were in foul moods tonight, stressed, tired, and cranky. We stumbled upon Glam God by total accident and ended up watching for an unbelievably long hour. We couldn’t help it – it was a train wreck! We’d like to thank you, VH1, for providing us with this show. It cheered us up… And helped us realize that our lives are sooo much better than those of the contestants, judges, and host.

Much thanks,
5B

PS: We would be happy to come on the show to provide some “Mystery Science Theatre 3000“-style commentary. We assure you, your viewers won’t mind us talking over the cast of Glam God. (You might even gain some new viewers.)

Filed under: random, teevee/movies, wtf?

Zigging, zagging, and filling in the blanks

It’s been a hectic week or two.

There was the lead up to ‘tute and the week of Summer Institute itself. It was busy, genderful, discussionful, friendful, cuddleful, teachful, and learnful. A few of us blogged about it over on Jewschool. I was left wrestling with some wonderful conversations, which I will have to continue back in the real world, possibly with margaritas in hand.

Sunday evening, upon my return, I had a lovely, if short, sleep in New York before heading to Montreal yesterday morning. Or at least, that was the plan. The short version is that I was “denied entry” to Canada, forced to return to the US. Which worked out, as I was able to get my work visa Monday evening, but meant I didn’t get to spend the night in Montreal catching up with a fantastic family, couldn’t get to my storage locker, and wasn’t able to have poutine for dinner or bring a dozen St-Viateur bagels back to New York with me. Alas. But, as I said, it worked out: I am now a legal alien in the US. (In the 36 hour period that started with pulling out of the parking lot at FPU in Rindge, NH, and ending with my return to my lovely hosts in the Bronx, NY, with the trip to the border in between, I traveled 1638km, passed through NH, MA, CT, NY, NJ, and for all of three minutes QC, and both chased lightning storms and raced to avoid them.)

Today I dealt with the social security office. Seems I was too efficient; the US Border and Customs folks hadn’t yet entered my work visa in their database, so I couldn’t actually get the SSN. Most likely this means it’ll take 2-3 weeks to get a SSN instead of the 1-2, but worst case is that it could take as much as 4-6 weeks. I plan on following up with them both on the phone and in person.

I also had the joy of filing an FCC complaint today. While driving south through Albany last night, I was scanning the radio dial when I came across some sort of sermon or Bible study. I heard the word phylacteries and continued listening. That is, until I realised that it was anti-semitism masquerading as moral/Christian superiority. Ugh. I hope they’re fined.

And now? Now I try to burn through the rest of my to-do list, possibly have a nap, certainly call a few more leads on apartments, then try to get a good night’s sleep before my first day of work tomorrow.

Filed under: america, canada, friends, home, nhc 'tute, random, travels, work, wtf?

Vancouver Pics

The Vancouver photos!

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Filed under: canada, family, friends, good eats, parties, photos, random, seasons, travels

BC travels

IMG_R3246I spent four lovely nights in Victoria, visiting my home, my friends, remnants of my plants. It was great to relax, fully embrace my dorkiness, play a lot of Scrabble, and fall back into a comfortable rhythm with my friends.

On the way back to Vancouver, I had to transfer buses as the Ladner Exchange. There, a woman and her college-aged daughter started pointing at me, then pointing at a fellow standing a few paces from me. I stealthily paused my iPod so I could casually listen in on what they were saying about us. The mother was saying something about my “beanie” and the “head dress” of the other fellow. (Based on what I saw, I assumed him to be Sikh, so that was in fact a turban.) I wasn’t the only one listening in; the other guy had been listening and caught my eyes when this was said of us. He stepped towards the mother and daughter to clarify things with them. But he didn’t know the words “kippah” or “yarmulke,” so in trying to explain that he wasn’t wearing a head dress, and I wasn’t wearing a beanie, the mother and daughter concluded that we were both of the same religion and were wearing variations on the same religious head wear.

At this point he looked to me, so I stepped over and tried to clarify. At some point the daughter had a “light bulb” moment and said something like, “Oh, like what the Pope wears?!” Um, yes. Kind of. Many religions have customs of head coverings and… I lost them. He looked at me and shrugged. The daughter started talking to her mom about an Easter “South Park” episode which claimed the Pope’s hat was pointy because the Pope had rabbit ears to hide. And I put my earphones back in and turned on my iPod.

It’s good to be back on the west coast…

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As a side note, I’d recommend reading two recent posts on Jewschool: The H in Apartheid, a thoughtful piece on Hebron, and No One Is Jewish, about Jews who have had their conversion revoked.

Filed under: friends, israel, judaism, photos, random, religion, travels

Pesach Plumage

So here I am in Seattle, cleaning, kashering, and cooking. The kitchen is pristine. The rest of the house… not my domain. Because I’m not the one who will be eating in this house post-Passover, I’m allowing my host to have the final word on some of the halakhah. The result is the chometz cupboard and box in the fridge (stuff he’ll want to eat in a week, that’s expensive to replace, and needs to be refrigerated). Thanks to the internet, both the box and the cupboard have been sold. That is, he no longer owns a cupboard in his kitchen, nor does he own the box in his fridge. I had fun with it, drawing on the boxes:

Then we had to find a feather. Despite suggesting to a friend that “tackling a bird” would be a great way to get a feather, I was not about to attempt this method on my own. We went to a dollar store that had a craft section. Alas, no feathers. We checked a K-Mart, alas, no craft section. Then we went to a giant pet store chain. They sell birds and, sure enough, there were feathers at the bottom of their clean-looking cages. While I wandered amongst the cat toys, trying to decide which cat toy could be defeathered the most easily, my friend approached an employee. “I have sort of a weird question… We need a feather for a religious ceremony. And I saw some in the birds’ cages. Could we have them?” The employee found a second employee, who agreed. Minutes later, he was on his hands and knees in the bird cage (while we were both mildly creeped out because, you know, no matter how clean that cage liner was…) grabbing a half dozen colourful feathers from budgies. My friend and I both reached for the nearby hand santizer as a reaction, but it was empty. (Oh, and let’s not forget the smell in there. A customer’s big ol’ dog had decided the floor next to the bird cages was the perfect place to do his business, both businesses.) Hands were washed once we returned home.

And now we have tiny little feathers to sweep for crumbs with.

Filed under: friends, judaism, photos, random, seasons, travels

The weirdness continues

About 3 minutes ago, there was an earthquake.

In about 3 days, it will snow again.

(Oh, Israel… you so crazy!)

ETA: Turns out the epicentre was in Lebanon, a magnitude of 5.0 – 5.3 (depending on your source). Based on the few earthquakes I’ve been in, I’m estimating the rumble in Jerusalem as a 2.7.

Filed under: israel, random, seasons

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