hermionesviolin: a closeup of a glossy apple (shining yellow close to the viewer, red along the edges) against a tan background (apples and honey)
As has become my custom, reposting this from Amy:
One of the big pieces of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that you reflect over the past year, and you attempt to (A) accept and forgive anything that has been done to you, and (B) apologize and ask forgiveness for anything you have done to others.

[...]

Anonymous is enabled, and all comments are screened. If I've done anything to hurt you this year, let me know. If there's anything you think I might still be upset over, let me know that too. I won't unscreen unless you specifically request I do [...] The goal isn't to start fresh- that's often not possible- but to acknowledge what has happened over this year (or any previous time, if you so choose) as an attempt to not have it happen again.

I promise to treat anything you say seriously and respectfully, and I will seriously be considering it over the next ten days.
***

I was telling bff recently that I want to resolve All The Things -- that the part that I'm most attracted to in Amy's post is not the forgiveness per se as the opportunity to get to tell people how they've hurt you and the opportunity to get to hear from people how you have hurt them. Okay, this is more than I want to Know All The Things, but I do want to get to fix things where possible (though yes, in my own life, the people I've hurt are unlikely to be reading this, and it's mostly stuff that's not really able to be ~fixed by being brought up. hashtag: #redacted).

In recent months, I've been thinking about reparations and direct cash transfers generally (Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic article "The Case for Reparations" and Lauren Chief Elk-Young Bear et al.'s #GiveYourMoneyToWomen, plus critiques of the non-profit industrial complex from e.g. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence's The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex).

When giving online, I've started giving $18 'cause of the symbolic import in Judaism (see e.g., this Tumblr post -- tl;dr 18 symbolizes "life").

[5777]

Oct. 2nd, 2016 10:28 pm
hermionesviolin: (be brave now)
I'd been seeing "shana tova" posts on social media today, but forgot until just a little while ago that I have this practice every year. I turned 33 this summer, so I'd definitely been thinking for a while about how this would be "my Jesus year," but I'd forgotten about this period (albeit not of my own tradition) of reflection. The "new year" framing feels appropriate at this time when I've been thinking about various relationships and trying to figure out new, more life-giving patterns.

***

As has become my custom, reposting this from Amy:
One of the big pieces of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that you reflect over the past year, and you attempt to (A) accept and forgive anything that has been done to you, and (B) apologize and ask forgiveness for anything you have done to others.

[...]

Anonymous is enabled, and all comments are screened. If I've done anything to hurt you this year, let me know. If there's anything you think I might still be upset over, let me know that too. I won't unscreen unless you specifically request I do [...] The goal isn't to start fresh- that's often not possible- but to acknowledge what has happened over this year (or any previous time, if you so choose) as an attempt to not have it happen again.

I promise to treat anything you say seriously and respectfully, and I will seriously be considering it over the next ten days.
***

Scott's email this year was:
May your 5777 be as sweet as it is Hyperfibonacci* -- and may you have a truly golden year!**

QED,
Scott

*See https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/journals/JIS/VOL19/Urbiha/urbiha4.html .

**Note that 5777 = Floor[Phi^Chai], where Floor[x] is the greatest integer less than or equal to x, Phi is the golden ratio (1+Sqrt[5])/2, and Chai is 18.

~ And note also that 5777 divides the 5778th Fibonacci number -- so next year should be pretty excellent, too.
hermionesviolin: a closeup of a glossy apple (shining yellow close to the viewer, red along the edges) against a tan background (apples and honey)
I've been thinking of the Ani DiFranco song "hour follows hour" recently:
and maybe the most that we can do
is just to see each other through it
we make our own gravity to give weight to things
then things fall and they break and gravity sings
we can only hold so much is what i figure
try and keep our eye on the big picture
picture keeps getting bigger
and too much is how i love you
but too well is how i know you
and i've got nothing to prove this time
just something to show you
i guess i just wanted you to see
that it was all worth it to me
***

As has become my custom, reposting this from Amy:
One of the big pieces of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that you reflect over the past year, and you attempt to (A) accept and forgive anything that has been done to you, and (B) apologize and ask forgiveness for anything you have done to others.

[...]

Anonymous is enabled, and all comments are screened. If I've done anything to hurt you this year, let me know. If there's anything you think I might still be upset over, let me know that too. I won't unscreen unless you specifically request I do [...] The goal isn't to start fresh- that's often not possible- but to acknowledge what has happened over this year (or any previous time, if you so choose) as an attempt to not have it happen again.

I promise to treat anything you say seriously and respectfully, and I will seriously be considering it over the next ten days.
***

From Scott: "May your 5776 be as sweet as it is square."
hermionesviolin: a closeup of a glossy apple (shining yellow close to the viewer, red along the edges) against a tan background (apples and honey)
Every year I repost this from Amy:
One of the big pieces of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that you reflect over the past year, and you attempt to (A) accept and forgive anything that has been done to you, and (B) apologize and ask forgiveness for anything you have done to others.

[...]

Anonymous is enabled, and all comments are screened. If I've done anything to hurt you this year, let me know. If there's anything you think I might still be upset over, let me know that too. I won't unscreen unless you specifically request I do [...] The goal isn't to start fresh- that's often not possible- but to acknowledge what has happened over this year (or any previous time, if you so choose) as an attempt to not have it happen again.

I promise to treat anything you say seriously and respectfully, and I will seriously be considering it over the next ten days.
hermionesviolin: a closeup of a glossy apple (shining yellow close to the viewer, red along the edges) against a tan background (apples and honey)
Before meditation tonight [at First Church Cambridge], I made a couple suggestions of ways to make it more welcoming to newbies and Kate L. made note of them.

I said I felt like my first time at Rest and Bread, when I was the only person not from FCS and Laura Ruth asked me how I'd liked it and I said I liked it but I had a few suggestions.

Kate L. pointed out that I only started coming a few weeks after they started having this, so we're all new.

digression on being That Girl )

[Subject line is from the Thomas Merton poem Kate L. read tonight.]

***

Scott emailed:
Subject: Shanah tova, QED!

May you have a sweet 5774, QED!*

Scott


*Note that 5774 is a happy number -- its trajectory under iteration of
the "sum of squares of digits" eventually reaches 1 (see
http://oeis.org/A007770).
***

As has become my custom, reposting this from Amy:
One of the big pieces of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that you reflect over the past year, and you attempt to (A) accept and forgive anything that has been done to you, and (B) apologize and ask forgiveness for anything you have done to others.

[...]

Anonymous is enabled, and all comments are screened. If I've done anything to hurt you this year, let me know. If there's anything you think I might still be upset over, let me know that too. I won't unscreen unless you specifically request I do [...] The goal isn't to start fresh- that's often not possible- but to acknowledge what has happened over this year (or any previous time, if you so choose) as an attempt to not have it happen again.

I promise to treat anything you say seriously and respectfully, and I will seriously be considering it over the next ten days.
***

I browsed the "Rosh Hashanah" tag on Tumblr, and:
"Head of the Year"
Marge Piercy

The moon is dark tonight, a new
moon for a new year. It is
hollow and hungers to be full.
It is the black zero of beginning.

Now you must void yourself
of injuries, insults, incursions.
Go with empty hands to those
you have hurt and make amends.

It is not too late. It is early
and about to grow. Now
is the time to do what you
know you must and have feared
to begin. Your face is dark
too as you turn inward to face
yourself, the hidden twin of
all you must grow to be.

Forgive the dead year. Forgive
yourself. What will be wants
to push through your fingers.
The light you seek hides
in your belly. The light you
crave longs to stream from
your eyes. You are the moon
that will wax in new goodness.
And from "New Year’s Day" by Kim Addonizio:
I only want to walk
a little longer in the cold

blessing of the rain,
and lift my face to it.
hermionesviolin: a closeup of a glossy apple (shining yellow close to the viewer, red along the edges) against a tan background (apples and honey)
As has become my custom, reposting this from Amy:
One of the big pieces of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that you reflect over the past year, and you attempt to (A) accept and forgive anything that has been done to you, and (B) apologize and ask forgiveness for anything you have done to others.

[...]

Anonymous is enabled, and all comments are screened. If I've done anything to hurt you this year, let me know. If there's anything you think I might still be upset over, let me know that too. I won't unscreen unless you specifically request I do [...] The goal isn't to start fresh- that's often not possible- but to acknowledge what has happened over this year (or any previous time, if you so choose) as an attempt to not have it happen again.

I promise to treat anything you say seriously and respectfully, and I will seriously be considering it over the next ten days.
Pr. Lisa closed service today with reading Mary Oliver's poem "The Summer Day" ... "what will you do with your one wild and precious life?"
hermionesviolin: (tell me a story [lizzieb])
I went to Rosh HaShannah second day services at The Hav because getting to Temple B'nai Brith by 5:30pm seemed implausible.

Two people asked me if I was thinking about converting. I guess that would normally be why a non-Jew comes to, for example, Rosh HaShannah second night services; it's just so not where I'm at that the question throws me every time.

After service, I got invited to dinner.

It was about 8:30, and I'd been up since 5:30am, so I was hesitant, but they live up near me, so I figured it would be easy enough to bail (though as I said, then I got in conversation with some other folks and was kinda sad to leave that).

I was really glad I went to dinner.

I learned that "Jews really like blessing" but that you don't want to waste a blessing -- that would be like taking the Lord's name in vain. Hence the carefulness of the timing of blessings (e.g. the bread blessing is the last pre-meal food blessing, because it covers all the food, bread being the basis of sustenance).

At one point, there was conversation about Zalman, and Josh paused to sort of explain to me, and I said "Like, The Reb Zalman Legacy Project Blog, right?" and everyone was impressed. I said I couldn't necessarily tell you anything about what he believes/espouses, that I got to the blog from Velveteen Rabbi (who apparently is Talya's ex-girlfriend's somebody's somebody's sister-in-law).

Talya went to RCC (Reconstructionist Rabbinical College) in Philly and apparently the prof of her Christianity class was a UMC person and told them about the Beth Stroud trial as it was going on (in Philly). I didn't know that the congregation basically unanimously chose to keep her on as a lay minister after she was defrocked. (Yeah, after Amy DeLong it would probably behoove me to be more well-versed in this history -- since I keep encountering non-UMC people who have some exposure to it ... like the UU(?) woman in faith-sharing who took a class with HEUMC-Scott.)

Talya asked why I attend Jewish services. As with "why do you do so much church?" I don't have a good answer. One thing I did say, and I commented on the irony, is that Jewish services are so ritualized, and because it's not my tradition (and I don't even understand much of what's going on), I can experience it as, "Here is this stuff I don't really understand but which has this weight of tradition behind it and which is really meaningful to these people" -- as opposed to in my own tradition I'm like, "Why are we doing this? This doesn't resonate for me at all!" and I'm arguing with what it all means and why we're doing it.

I also commented that when I attend services at the Hav I'm reminded that it's perhaps not such a good choice for me because it doesn't feel very ritualistic. They assert that the Hav is low style but high liturgy, doing all the prayers and etc.

Josh cantored at Harvard Hillel on RH 1 -- in Memorial Church. He said they had covered the cross with a sign that said (in Hebrew) "Surely God is in this place." ♥

Josh said I was welcome to stop by any time. During dinner, I had wished Shoshana could have been there (for all the Jew conversation), and it occurs to me that we could set up a dinner date (Josh and I did exchange business cards).

I lack people in my meatspace life to discuss religion/theology ad infinitum with, and Jewish community is great for that :D
hermionesviolin: a closeup of a glossy apple (shining yellow close to the viewer, red along the edges) against a tan background (apples and honey)
via Velveteen Rabbi:
elul: psalm 27

we are told to say the following
every day for a month
in preparation for the days of awe:

you are my light my help
when I'm with you I'm not afraid
I want to live in your house

the enemies that chew my heart
the enemies that break my spine
I'm not afraid of them when I’m with you

all my life I have truly trusted you
save me from the liars
let me live in your house

-- Alicia Ostriker (from her three-part poem Days of Awe.)
+

from Velveteen Rabbi's Six Ways to Usher In the New Year:
2. Jewish tradition holds that today is the birthday of the world. Stick a candle in a cupcake if you're so inclined; go outdoors if you're so inclined; wish the world happy birthday, and take some time to be grateful for the corner of the world in which you live, wherever that may be.
+

As has become my custom, reposting this from Amy:
One of the big pieces of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that you reflect over the past year, and you attempt to (A) accept and forgive anything that has been done to you, and (B) apologize and ask forgiveness for anything you have done to others.

[...]

Anonymous is enabled, and all comments are screened. If I've done anything to hurt you this year, let me know. If there's anything you think I might still be upset over, let me know that too. I won't unscreen unless you specifically request I do [...] The goal isn't to start fresh- that's often not possible- but to acknowledge what has happened over this year (or any previous time, if you so choose) as an attempt to not have it happen again.

I promise to treat anything you say seriously and respectfully, and I will seriously be considering it over the next ten days.
hermionesviolin: (moon house)
Sears had winter stuff on sale, so I now have footie pajamas (and blue leopard print flannel pj's).

And housemate and I went to Target so I now have not only a bookcase (which will be brought into the house and assembled later in the weekend) but also a storage ottoman. Housemate also bought me dinner :)

***

Purim is the weekend of my brother's wedding, so I can't go to any fun parties here. Alas.

via Kita: The Maccabeats - "Purim Song" (based on "Raise Your Glass" by P!nk)

(YouTube also offers me "Raise Your Mask Purim" - The Fountainheads.)

And can I just say blessings on both those groups for including the text of the lyrics of their songs?

Dreamboard

Sep. 24th, 2010 08:54 pm
hermionesviolin: one autumn leaf on the sidewalk (autumn)
So, Magpie Girl used to do monthly dreamboards -- and at some point she posted about the option of doing them at the time of the full(? new?) moon if that works better for you [I cannot now find the post edit: Full Moon /edit] -- and I've done dreamboards in my head before (vaguely meaning to corporealize them, but also not being able to find the images I wanted on the Internet and thus knowing that I wouldn't able to make them look on paper like they looked in my head) but in my discernal (I really want there to be an extra syllable in there -- discernenal -- for the cadence) stewing this week, I decided it would be a good idea for me to actually make one, like on paper.

So when I went to do art tonight, that's the first thing I did.  I've printed out assorted pages of Google Image search results on the color printer at work this week, and today I printed out some full-size images for "harvest" -- pumpkins and other squashes.  I bought construction paper at CVS on the way home tonight, and I put two of the images on a piece of orange construction paper, with the handwritten text:
the One who began a good work in you
will be faithful to complete it

And apparently that was all I needed to do.  On a white piece of paper, I did a quick sketch of a sukkah with autumn leaves inside, but I felt like really I wanted to go and do other stuff -- even though for some days now I've had a number of different art pieces bubbling in my head.  So I've backburnered those until I feel like I need to do them.

My netbook keyboard is totally busted (yeah, I should really look into getting that fixed, like before I go to KC), and my digital camera doesn't talk to my 9-year-old computer, so no photos for you until I'm back at the office.

[Edit: Link to photos. /edit]

Equinox

Sep. 22nd, 2010 08:58 pm
hermionesviolin: one autumn leaf on the sidewalk (autumn)
Before service tonight, Ian H. asked me, "Elizabeth, have you considered," and I was certain that sentence was going to end with "seminary" or "ordained ministry," because it always does, but instead it ended, "becoming an Associate Member here?"  It would recognize that my primary affiliation is with another church, but it would also ritualize the fact that I am choosing to journey in faith with this community.

It makes a lot of sense, though commitment-phobic [when it comes to institutions, anyway] me immediately thought, "I'm not even an official member of the church that is my home."  I asked the polity question of what this would mean in terms of my having a vote and also in terms of my being able to serve on committees.  (I almost caveated that I knew that sounded like I wanted to be on those things, but my asking was largely prompted by wanting to know how much obligation I would be incurring the potential for.  But we all know I like to get to Have My Way, so getting to be on committees is in fact totally appealling.)  He said I wouldn't get to vote, but he'd have to check the by-laws about committee membership.

So we can add Church Membership to the list of things I am broadly clumping under "vocational discernment."

Talking about the Fall Holy Days that are really resonant for her (Fall Equinox/Mabon and Sukkot), Magpie Girl summarized their themes as:
* Abundance – celebrating the abundance of the Fall harvest
* Awareness – of what is ripening in your own life this season.
* Gratitude – for provision and sustenance.
Ian H. is preaching this coming Sunday (I think on this past Sunday's Jeremiah text) on "Change Sucks!"

***

I showed up at Rest and Bread feeling tired, hungry, and ill-prepared.  Service went well, though -- and there were actually more than 4 of us.  I extemporized the second half of my Reflection, and I wasn't always entirely sure people were with me, but I got compliments/thanks later.  And I blanked twice during other parts of the service, but no one minds.

Yes, once I finish my yogurt I am so falling into bed.
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
I got up around 10, intending to go to the Biversity Bi Brunch at Johnny D's (11:30-1:30).  I got caught up in some stuff on the Internet, so I got there around 11:35.  Place was packed, I really had no idea how to find the group I wanted, and I was not feeling that boldly social.  So I continued on to my shopping errands downtown.

I was conscious that I was hungry (I had consciously not had breakfast at home because I was expecting to have brunch) and that where I was headed downtown wasn't really abundant with breakfasty options.

I was already planning to go to Scott and Sonia's Yom Kippur breaking the fast at 7:30 that night ("Even if you will not be fasting (or not observing at all), we would like to invite you to join us for a scrumptious break-fast Saturday evening.") so I kind of decided to fast all day.

I'm not really sure how I feel about fasting.  I am a big fan of being attentive to our body's needs (e.g., eating when hungry) -- and I know people who struggle with disordered eating, such that they often ignore or don't experience hunger cues, so I have real pushback against training yourself to ignore cues like hunger.

I felt a little bit like I was cheating, because I'd had dinner at like 9pm the previous night, so it wasn't quite a 24-hour, sundown-sundown, fast -- plus I'd slept in, so it was only like 10 hours of waking fast -- but yeah, I kind of refuse to feel guilty.

All the food was vegetarian \o/ except for the pickled herring Sonia's mom brought.  I know it's traditional to break the Ramadan fast with a date (I broke my fast with a sip of apple cider and a bite of raisin challah bread) but the idea of traditionally breaking your Yom Kippur fast with pickled herring? :/

Ben came by by later on. 
After he'd been there some minutes, he said to me, "So who do we know here?
I said, "Well, a lot of the people are Sonia's family -- I could probably name about half the people here, but I'm not sure how many of them you would know, so it depends on what you mean by 'Who do we know?'"  I then pointed out and named (some of) the Harvard-affiliated people and then category-named more broadly.  Around that point, Sonia came by and did a slightly more thorough version but yeah, Ben commented to me later that I usually know what's going on [even when it's totally not my job].

I headed out around 10pm 'cause I could feel I was fading (and it's about a 45-minute walk home from their place) -- and then ended up chatting with my housemate and a friend of hers on the floor between our two bedrooms for about an hour and a half.  Oops.

While cleaning up, Scott and Sonia were like, "Who brought beer?  We don't even drink beer."  (Some of what had been brought had been drunk, and some of it they were willing to keep, but they definitely didn't want to keep all of it.)  I pointed out to Scott that he could bring it in to work. 
Scott: "How would I bring it in to work?"
me: "How do you normally get to work?"
Scott: "Not carrying anything."
me: "Okay, fine."  [He has RSI.]
So I brought it home.  Housemate's friend is taking the beer, so it will have a good home that is not the mini-fridge at my work.
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
I got a brief Scott-hug in passing on Tuesday of this week, but yesterday was the first time I really saw him since Wednesday morning of last week. One of the first things he said to me yesterday was to ask how my year had been thus far. It only took me a moment to parse, but I was still amused that despite having written a sermon about the fact that Rosh Hashanah not Yom Kippur is the Jewish New Year, I still haven't internalized that.

***

Just now, Kita made a post that really resonated with me, so I'm quoting much of it here (largely to remind myself to try to live into this):
"May all the people of Israel be forgiven, including all the strangers who live in their midst, for all the people are in fault."

This year:

I am sorry for not being the person you thought I was.
I am sorry for being exactly the person you thought I was.
I am sorry for not being able to commit the way you needed me to.
I am sorry for not being able to fix things for you.
I am sorry for trying to fix things for you, when they were not my responsibility to fix.
I am sorry for letting you down.
I am sorry for expecting too much from you.
I am sorry for being unable to listen to your perspective with an open mind.
I am sorry for being unwilling to consider where you might have been coming from.
I am sorry that I can't forgive you yet.
I am sorry for not treating you with more kindness.
I am sorry for not treating myself with more kindness.

*

I forgive you for not being the person I wanted you to be.
I forgive you for your inability to give me what I needed.
I forgive you for making it all about you.
I forgive you for disappointing me, for angering me, for making me sad.
I forgive you for not being able to empathize with my perspective.
I forgive you for not treating me with more kindness.
I forgive myself for needing more time to let go of past hurts.

*

If there is anyone I have hurt, with words or deeds, this past year, I am truly sorry, and I ask for your forgiveness. You are not obligated to forgive me, but I sincerely hope you will think about it. If there is anything you would like to discuss related to this, [my edit: I refer you to my Rosh Hashanah post this year, where comments are screened, or you can of course private message me]. I promise to be as respectful and considerate as you are.
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
From "Teshuvah, In Three Acts: A rabbi reflects on the struggle to restore wholeness in the lives of three congregants" by Rabbi Ayelet Cohen (emphasis mine):
I ran into one woman outside of the sanctuary on Yom Kippur. She was sitting on the floor playing with her young son. She had lost her mother earlier that year. “I am furious at God,” she told me. “Ever since my mother died I have been furious at God. I have no intention of going in there and praying or saying anything to God.”

But she had come to shul anyway. It was Yom Kippur. She and her partner were raising a child. She was angry at God that her mother had not lived to know the grandson who would surely have brought her so much joy. But this woman and her partner were creating a family, continuing the chain of their Jewish families. They wanted their son to be a part of their Jewish community.

She didn’t go into the sanctuary that year. She may not have gone in the next year either. But she kept coming to shul, with her partner and their son. Even as she raged with God she knew that for her Jewish family, marking the holidays and coming to shul was essential. She wasn’t asking God for forgiveness. She wanted God to ask her for forgiveness, for taking her mother away before her son had a chance to know his grandmother. And it seemed like Yom Kippur was the right time for that.

Each year as the fullness of summer begins to wane and the moon of the month of Elul swells and subsides, the season of teshuvah returns. Teshuvah is a gift and a challenge. It is slow work. There is no magic formula that will suddenly heal all that has shattered in our lives. We build community; we explore and reconcile with Judaism; we search for God. Every year as we return to this season we are painfully aware of what is still broken.

But each year doing teshuvah reminds us that we may begin to repair what is broken. We may recover that which has been lost. Teshuvah reminds us that wholeness is possible.

shana tova

Sep. 8th, 2010 08:28 pm
hermionesviolin: text "a land flowing with milk and honey" (abundance)
As has become my custom, reposting this from Amy:
One of the big pieces of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that you reflect over the past year, and you attempt to (A) accept and forgive anything that has been done to you, and (B) apologize and ask forgiveness for anything you have done to others.

Every year, I make this post, and people, er, rarely comment, but just enough do that it seems important to me to keep doing this, year after year.

Anonymous is enabled, and all comments are screened. If I've done anything to hurt you this year, let me know. If there's anything you think I might still be upset over, let me know that too. I won't unscreen unless you specifically request I do- or, well, I'll reply, but then I will re-screen immediately. (Er, if it's anon, I do not know if that's possible? But yes. I will try!) The goal isn't to start fresh- that's often not possible- but to acknowledge what has happened over this year (or any previous time, if you so choose) as an attempt to not have it happen again.

I promise to treat anything you say seriously and respectfully, and I will seriously be considering it over the next ten days.
***

At Rest and Bread tonight, we started a 3-week series on the poetry of Rumi.

Tonight's poem was "Be Melting Snow" (translated by Coleman Barks).

Title is from the penultimate stanza:
Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.
Hi, I have been thinking about Rosh Hashanah a lot.

Keith mentioned various ways one might think about that stanza, including:
- cleansing yourself of false identities
- a state of in-between-ness

During the shared Reflection time, Marlin talked about "the bondage of self" -- and how trying to show people God in me still makes it all about me.

Ian H. talked about noise, about getting distracted and sidetracked by conversations that don't matter (i.e., the debates around Park51).  And then during Prayer Time, he lifted up something like, "Everyone on both sides of all the strange arguments we find ourselves in," which really resonated with me for wholly unrelated reasons 'cause hi, the argument I found myself in this morning with [redacted, v.2], wherein we are (as we so often are, unfortunately) arguing about something that shifts the focus away from the underlying issues where we could actually be doing the work to make this relationship more life-giving for the both of us.

***

Yeah, I keep making these "screened comment" posts and then adding other content.  Ideally, if you comment you would indicate whether unscreening is okay, but I'll probably use my discretion if you don't specify.
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
Proper 18C / Ordinary 23C / Pentecost +15 - September 5, 2010
Jeremiah 18:1-11
Psalm 139
Philemon 1-21
Luke 14:25-33
Standing at the Gates of Repentance

We are coming up on the Days of Awe.  In a few days is Rosh Hashanah.  The Jewish New Year.  The time when we release everything from the past year which has separated us from God -- including that which has separated us from each other and from our own best selves.

Read more... )

Friday

Oct. 9th, 2009 07:17 pm
hermionesviolin: (self)
There were whole hours yesterday wherein I forgot I was sick.  Today I was mostly just congested.  And hey, Kieran never got back to me about plans, so I get to go to bed early again.  (I realize I have turned into a person who doesn't respond to messages in a timely fashion -- though I am usually wicked prompt in responding to stuff about actual plans -- but I caught up on a whole bunch today, which I feel really good about.)

I went to bed ~10:30 last night.  My dreams this morning were clearly influenced by events of the day.  Dreams included some comfort/reconciliation -- because my brain loves me and wants me to be happy -- and also my brother being a (still more conservative than I) Lutheran.

gym )

On my way from the gym to the office, I saw Scott heading toward me, and we waved and then we hugged and we actually went around in I think a full 360.  (Hi, Amy, I thought of you.)

Proving that he had read my email (he has RSI, so I'm usually more surprised to get an email from him than not), he said, "You need my cell phone number, and you need mine."

He also said he didn't know if he had shared his GoogleCalendar with me.  (Cate, are you proud?  Sidebar: When we were scheduling for the weekend his girlfriend was in town, I said that the purple was my calendar, so he could ignore the blue, and he was like, "Oh, too bad, that looks like a fun calendar -- Date Night ... BOOTIE Boston...")

"Oh, and I was supposed to invite you to Simchat Torah."  ♥  I got an email yesterday afternoon from the Temple Shalom Medford young adult listserv, so I knew what he was talking about, and I also knew that I had a conflict -- Salvadorian dinner + walk around Jamaica Pond with Carolyn.

I said, "Oh, so that's what GoogleCalendar calls Rejoicing of the Torah."  We talked some more about religious holidays on GoogleCalendar, and I actually looked up Creation on October 23 (true story the Wiki entry was the first Google hit for october 23 creation) and Reformation Day.

Then he went and met with a prof and then came back and talked to me more (about NCOD, among other things) and then hugged me before he left.  \o/

After work, I was at CVS, and the Seasonal section of the greeting cards section included Pastor.  I have no idea why.  There were 7 -- 4 used male language for God, 1 assumed a male pastor, 2 were neutral.  There were also 3 Rosh Hashana cards -- 1 "to both of you," 1 "from both of us," and 1 generic (which actually read from left to right).

My Barnes&Noble order came today.  As did a notice from Payroll:  "The Payroll Office has been notified by the Cash Management Department of Financial Systems that the following check(s) made payable to [my name] have not been cashed.  [Check Amount: $744.81, Check Date: 2/3/06]  As payroll checks are non-negotiable after six months, we have enclosed a replacement check(2) for you."  That date is right after I got hired fo'real (after being a long-term temp), so my guess is that it got lost in the direct-deposit shuffle.
hermionesviolin: text "a land flowing with milk and honey" (abundance)
I stole this from Amy last year, and I'm doing it again because I like it:
One of the big pieces of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that you reflect over the past year, and you attempt to (A) accept and forgive anything that has been done to you, and (B) apologize and ask forgiveness for anything you have done to others.

Every year, I make this post, and people, er, rarely comment, but just enough do that it seems important to me to keep doing this, year after year.

Anonymous is enabled, and all comments are screened. If I've done anything to hurt you this year, let me know. If there's anything you think I might still be upset over, let me know that too. I won't unscreen unless you specifically request I do- or, well, I'll reply, but then I will re-screen immediately. (Er, if it's anon, I do not know if that's possible? But yes. I will try!) The goal isn't to start fresh- that's often not possible- but to acknowledge what has happened over this year (or any previous time, if you so choose) as an attempt to not have it happen again.

I promise to treat anything you say seriously and respectfully, and I will seriously be considering it over the next ten days.
***

Now that I have umpteen blogs on my GoogleReader, I have additional people to quote re: Rosh Hashanah.  (So, um, if you want to comment both to the above and the below, please to be making separate comments so I can unscreen appropriately?)

Possibly the first one I saw this year was Rosh Hashanah + Talk Like a Pirate Day.

More seriously:

I really like this interpretation of the death litany:
The prayer itself is a list of ways people die. It purpose isn’t to scare you, but to get your attention: “Hey! This could be your last year on earth. How do you want to live it? Enslaved to old habits? Obsessed with trivialities? Self¬–absorbed and clinging? Or is this a time to turn, reflect, and let go?”

You are going to die. If not this year, maybe next year, or the year after that. So death isn’t your problem. Your problem is how to live until you die. Unetanah Tokef challenges us to live with teshuvah, tefillah, and tzedakah. Teshuvah, weakly translated as “repentance” literally means “turning,” and is the act of turning from evil and doing good, turning from self to others, turning from fear to love, turning from self to God. Tefillah is prayer, and in Hebrew the act of praying (hitpallel) is reflexive: true prayer is seeing who you really are as the image and likeness of God and then acting accordingly. Acting accordingly means practicing tzedakah. Tzedakah, from tzedek, justice, is the act of uplifting the poor and enfranchising the disenfranchised. The highest form of tzedakah is seeing that people are gainfully employed and self–supporting. Tzedakah means earning your money honestly in a manner than does no harm, and using your money wisely in a manner that does great good.

So on this birthday of humanity, take a moment and remember your mortality, examine your life, and where necessary turn toward a deeper act of generosity.
And from this post on tshuvah:
The word Tshuvah doens’t really mean “repentance,” but “return.” “Return” means that rather than saying one is sorry and moving on to the next wretched remark, one has to realize that one has walked way off the right path, turn around and walk all the way back. It is insufficient to apologize and move on, because usually, the things that we do wrong are not single mistakes in an otherwise unblemished life. No, we humans are creatures of pattern and habit, and that eans those mistakes that we make aren’t just about a one-ff. They are usually part of a larger pattern of behavior which we need to observe and reform. That is one of the reasons why Judaism is based on laws - halakha- not feelings: tzedaka, not caritas, for example-
psychology confirms what the rabbis have been telling us for centuries: peoples’ behavior is not driven by rational choice making, but rather by impulses often driven by habit, which are then after the fact justified. Which means that more important than good intentions are good habits, good patterns.

But there’s one more thing to add here. Sometimes one really does do wrong by accident, or by mistake. In our society today, we often try to emphasize intent and show tht our action was not intended to do harm - that is, in part, the origin of the non-apology. But in Judaism, accidents, too require tshuvah - how do we know this? In the Torah, sacrifices are offered for unintentional sins, moreover, check your high holiday liturgy - you may notice that accidental sins are listed there too. In our society, that is counter-intuitive - if it’s an accident, why do we have to say sorry? But accidents too, are often not done in a vacuum - they, too, often result from patterns of behavior that result in outcomes that - while we may not have intended them- are inevitable, and results of our actions.
You may not have intended to fall off the roof and land on someone and kill them- but why were you up on a roof without safeguards? Do you tend to behave in risky ways? You didn’t intend to get drunk again? Well, why were you hanging out with your drinking buddies and depending on them for a ride?
From a poem Velveteen Rabbi wrote:
In Hebrew, “compassion”
shares a root with “womb”
and God is the One in Whose womb
creation is nurtured.

On Rosh Hashanah we say
today the world is born.
Or: this moment right now
is pregnant with eternity.
***

This afternoon, Greg mentioned something about having to leave early for New Year's, and Ian asked, "Is it Rosh Hashanah?" and Greg said yes, and I said "chaim tovah," and Greg thanked me.  Later I realized I was totally butchering it -- conflating "L'chaim" and "Shana tovah."  :/

Later, Jim came by and said he was leaving soon, and I said, "For Rosh Hashanah."  And he said he was supposed to be home already.  (It was about 4pm.)  I said, "You'll still be home before sunset."  He said, "Yes, but not home with as much time to help as I would like."  He said he'd helped a lot this morning, but that they're having about 25 people over for lunch tomorrow -- "And all the preparation has to get done today."  "Because it's Shabbas," I said.  "You know all this stuff," he said, as he has before when I've filled in sentences when he's talking about the Abraham Path Initiative.

***

And from Noam on kwedlist:

Happy Square Day again!
(binomial(15,5))^2 = 009.018.009

***

At book group tonight, L. brought apples and honey -- which I'd never actually had in combination before, but of which I approve.

***

Oh, and I have clean sheets on my bed.  Happy New Year :)
hermionesviolin: (light in the darkness)
I forgot about this until [livejournal.com profile] sweet_adelheid posted last night.

I've been thinking more about Rosh Hashanah -- which begins next Friday.  (Sidebar: I subscribed to "Jewish Holidays" on my Google Calendar, and I find it interesting that it says "New Year" and "Day of Atonement" and "Festival of Booths" rather than "Rosh Hashanah" and "Yom Kippur" and "Sukkot.")

Last night, Mary Borsellino wrote:
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, apparently, which I guess means it was yesterday in Australia really but whatever.

I am lucky because several of my closest friends have suicidal thoughts on a regular basis. That sounds completely insane, but this is how it works: we are honest with each other. We can talk about it openly and know that we'll be met with compassion and understanding, not horror and revulsion. Monsters in the dark don't have the same power when you turn on the light.

A year and a half ago, somebody important to me couldn't find that light switch for her own darkness. It was too much for her, and she died. Her death is one of the most horrifying things that's happened within the universe of the people I know and care about, and within myself.

I wrote my biography-zine, Sharpest, last year for one simple reason: I wanted other people to be able to read something which felt like a conversation, an open and sincere one of the sort my friends and I have. I've had a few feedback letters from readers which suggest that for some people, this is exactly what I've done, and those letters make me cry. If I never manage to write anything good ever again, I at least got the most important one out.

Morning always comes again. Please stick around to see it.
It was strange to me today that it was a grey day, since I remember so clearly walking back from Seelye under the bright blue sky.  (And yes, that makes me sing Ani, even though I have -- and have always had -- problems with that song.)

A recent post on the blog "when love comes to town" talked about what happened after the 9/11/2001 attacks:
  • And that is precisely what [Renee] Girrard describes in his work regarding scapegoats: pinning all of our hatred and fear on the scapegoat always unifies a society - but only for a season - and then more violence is needed to bind people together. Further, societies rarely consider the consequences of scapegoating - history is never told from the perspective of our victims - so we rarely feel remorse or act in repentance.
  • Which is why the story and reality of Jesus is unique: for the first time, Girrard suggests, history is told from the perspective of the innocent scapegoat. For the first time we can see the horrible consequences of our violence. Indeed, what makes the passion of Christ so important in NOT the horrible violence a la Mel Gibson. That, sadly, is all to ordinary. No, what makes the passion life changing is the awareness that Christ died to expose this horrible sin and invite us - with God's grace - to stop it.
I was struck by this particularly because I've been thinking about atonement theology recently.
hermionesviolin: an image of Alyson Hannigan (who plays Willow Rosenberg) with animated text "you think you know / what you are / what's to come / you haven't even / BEGUN" (Default)
This morning when I turned on the shower, I noticed there was something moving, like not just a clump of hair being moved around by the running water, but something moving of its own accord.  I put on my glasses and hey it was a really big multi-legged insect.  I let the water run until it was dead (which felt somewhat cruel, but no way I was squishing that myself) and then turned off the water and got a couple of papertowels and picked it up and dropped it into the wastebasket.  Oh, being a grownup.

I sat in on both of FUH's classes this morning (the first class he introduced me as his "extraordinarily competent and capable assistant"; the second class he neglected to introduce me, but I'm not fussed).  They did a version of the Win As Much As You Can exercise and then FUH talked about the Prisoner's Dilemma and Axelrod's work, and by the end of the second class I actually understood it (I'd read some about prisoner's dilemma and such before, but I hadn't really wrapped my head around it) and I have thoughts, but I seem to be in a period of not posting thinky stuff or substance.

At lunch today, I asked Greg if they were doing anything for Passover, and Laura asked what you do for Passover, and Greg's explanation didn't go how I would have done it, and I interrupted a little -- I think to help make it more comprehensible to the non-Jew -- and ended up taking over the explanation, which I'm fairly certain Greg was fine with.  (In retrospect I feel weirdly culturally appropriative.)  I said I like that Passover falls during Holy Week this year, and I rattled off various things about the Last Supper and Palm Sunday and the blood libel, and I love that Greg is interested in this even though the Christian history is not his history and he's not a religion geek like I am.  I boggle sometimes at what people don't know, though -- I mean, how can you grow up Catholic and look at me blankly when I say "the Exodus story"?  (It occurs to me now that if nothing else, haven't you seen The Ten Commandments?)  In the moment, though, I think I was really good at performing nonjudgmentalism.

P.S. Inclusivity ur doin it wrong? -- "Finale proudly introduces special bakery selections for Passover.  (These items are flourless or made with Matzoh cake flour; they are not Kosher.)"

Because I was at work at 8, I was gonna go to the gym at 4 (B had a meeting from 3:30-6) but B's meeting got canceled and I forgot about my plan to go to the gym until like 3:57 and even though B was in a different meeting which would likely last until the end of the day I felt kind of like I should stay in case stuff came up (I am lazy and avoidant, but also kind of committed) and then FUH came out gave me class-related tasks to do.  When he gave me the participation to input, he said that since I had attended the classes, if I noticed there was anyone who had spoken whom he hadn't marked, that would be incredibly valuable.  I had actually taken notes in the second class, so after I input all his participation marks I went back to my notes and wrote up the comments I had written down which hadn't gotten marked.  As I was finishing up, I realized it was like 5:03.  *shrug*  I feel like I spend so much time faffing about on the internet while I hang out at my desk waiting for someone to need me that I'm really not fussed about exact hours (and really, spending 3 hours sitting in class? it feels somehow like cheating that I get paid for that).

I've been emailing back and forth a bunch with L. and feeling on a really even keel, which I appreciate, especially since I find myself cranky with Someone.

I took the T with Allie this morning, and we caught up a bit, and at one point she asked, "So besides MuskratJamboree, how's life?"  As usual, I don't have an answer to that.  I know that I'm looking ahead to a lot of things and I should probably try to be better at being in the now -- and also observing Holy Week.

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hermionesviolin: an image of Alyson Hannigan (who plays Willow Rosenberg) with animated text "you think you know / what you are / what's to come / you haven't even / BEGUN" (Default)Elizabeth (the delinquent, ecumenical)

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