Monday, February 13, 2012

learning is good

    Dear Harriet Walter,

    I'm having a good day. Despite the fact that I'm still getting over another cold. I woke up of my own accord, about fifteen minutes before my alarm went off, which only happens when I get lots and lots of sleep or there are loud noises and there were no loud noises. The cafeteria had chili, chips and cheese as a lunch option, which is my favorite lunch. My homework is going well. My Auntlet sent me a lovely e-card that brightened the world. I did laundry and replied to emails. I just got a surprise package from my Mumsy which was full of shirts that she bought for me presumably because I'd said once or twice that I hated all my shirts and why hadn't I bought shirts over Christmas break and so on. I love my Mumsy so much.
    And it's only 2:30pm. Goodness.

    I wanted to briefly mention last weekend, because last weekend was an interesting weekend. My (tiny) college has this program where twice a semester, a faculty/staff member or two will take a group of us out into the world to go to interesting places and do interesting things. We choose which excursions we want to go on out of a list - usually things like going to the theater, museums, concerts, trips to Mexico, etc. It helps being so close to Los Angeles. This semester I chose to go on a Jewish Cultural Study and a tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and last weekend (Feb. 3-6) was the time for the former.
    Friday evening Professor Mine Enemy started the thing with an introductory lecture about what we were going to be doing and what was up with modern Judaism and how Christians should relate to Jews and stuff, because the whole Jewish culture thing is his area and he does this every year, and then a couple hours later we all dressed up and headed out and attended a Shabbat service at a local temple - I believe it was a Reform congregation. That was a really cool experience. Sat in the front seat of PME's car on the drive there, with Danielle and Sarah H in the back, because it was more comfortable than the mammoth school vehicle driven by Mr B and because PME always blasts good music in his car. Several people who didn't sign up for the Jewish Cultural Study tagged along to the Shabbat service, including friend Jim. (There was a box of kippahs at the entrance to the temple, which the boys at least were supposed to take advantage of to be polite, and Jim selected a blue one because it matched his tie. I wish I'd taken my camera.)
    Saturday nothing happened except some of us girls got up fiendishly early and went to the LA flower market and wandered around some floral warehouses, which was awesome. Bought a cheap and lovely bunch of Sweet Williams.

Like a six-year-old, I took about a million pictures of flowers.

    Sunday I came along to a church I don't normally go to because Professor Mine Enemy and Mrs. Mine Enemy were having us kids (who went to that church that day, they go there too) over at their house for the afternoon to watch the Superbowl. Think there were about 20 of us there. Great food, perfect weather, relaxing conversation, beautiful day all around. (Saw some extremely enlightening family portraits from the 1980s or so hanging on the hallway walls inside. Should have taken pictures of pictures.)
    Monday we resumed our Jewish studies and all went (I in PME's car again, I really like his car) to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, where we mostly just went through the exhibit on the Holocaust. After that we were off to a Jewish deli, where before we ordered what we wanted from the menu, Professor Mine Enemy first made us all try pickled herring, creamed herring, latkes with applesauce and sour cream, and chopped liver. Liked the creamed herring but not the pickled, latkes were all right but not my thing, chopped liver was all right for the first few seconds and then more of the taste hit and I would have been like "I know what hell looks like now" if I hadn't been too busy choking and trying not to cry. Fortunately there was water and I soon got my paws on a chicken panini with avocado, pesto, sun-dried tomato, and mozzarella.
    From there we had a nice little visit to a different, bigger synagogue, again Reform, where a nice cantor dude showed us around and explained the religious imagery in the stained glass windows and took down one of the Torah scrolls from the ark and unrolled it and talked to us about how it was made and the history of scribes making scrolls like that, then took us into a smaller room for smaller services and explained modern Jewish approaches to architecture in places meant for worship.

The stained glass and the ark.
Torah scroll! They had five.
    Also on that Wednesday our guest speaker at chapel was involved in the organization Jews for Jesus and he spoke a bit about the relations of Judaism and Christianity, and we have to watch a film about Hasidic Jews by this Wednesday which I really should have done by now but I was totally swamped with papers last week like dude.

    Speaking of which, I have to go write a paper about ancient Hebrew poetry now, it's due tomorrow. No idea when I'll post next.

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