April 26, 2013

The Sabbath Queen and I

The Sabbath Queen and I
Move in different directions.
She from the East, I from the West.

Soon, we will meet.
I dread the meeting.
How will I explain?

I'll say maybe it could be okay because some
say electricity is fine so maybe the train is
okay too since it's electric even though I know it's
not preferred I'll say it's not carrying because
the bag is by my side but I know she'll
ask me what about after what
about when you get there how will you get
to where you're going I'll say I know it's bad
but maybe it could be okay because the
shuttle stops there anyway but I know it will
use more fuel and how will I explain to her how
I have to go anyway no really just I want to go and

But then
as she approaches
through the mist
I feel
a sense of calm.

As she comes close I see
that on her lips
she wears
a smile
of understanding.

Finally, near
East Norwalk
we meet
and she
puts her hand upon my head
and says
"God bless you, little one."

And we continue on our ways.
I to the East, she to the West.

April 25, 2013

Void Sefirah()

for (int omer=1; omer<50; omer++)
int weeks = omer/7;
int days = omer%7;
cout<<"Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us              with His commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.  Today is                  day "<<omer<<", which makes "<<weeks<<" weeks and "<<days<<" days of               the Omer.<<endl;

Im Amarti

would it
offend you
if I said

that even though
you don't

your prayers
go straight
up to Heaven

April 23, 2013

Kiln Gods

My ceramics teacher told us about kiln gods.  They are little figures made from clay that people place atop the kiln, to watch over firings and bless them with their luck.  They often are shaped like idols to pagan gods, but they do not need to be.  Usually, they are little animals or people.  No one, nowadays, actually believes that they protect the kiln.  They're seen merely as a way to bring life to a space, a nice touch.  But our kiln had none.  So, my teacher asked us each to make one.

But, I did not want to craft an idol.  I knew that that is not really what they are; no one, here at least, believes they hold the spirits of gods.  But they are the echoes of idols made for that purpose.  Whether we will it or not, every action is a connection to something, and what we are connecting to matters.  And I knew I did not want to connect to the worship of idols, since I am Jewish, and my religion's founding purpose was to disconnect from idols and connect instead to our One God.  So, what would I do?  I could simply not make one; move on to a different project.  But we are taught: Al tifrosh min hatzibur.  Do not separate yourself from the community.  I did not want to separate, but I did not want to partake.  So I thought.  What could I make?  I remembered, then, that my teacher had said that a kiln god did not need to be a creature; she had seen one once that was a tablet, with writing. Could I not then, create something like this?  With a prayer to the real, One, true God on it?  So, that is what I did.  I rolled out the clay, inscribed it, and bent it so it flowed.

This is the prayer that I wrote:

'ברוך אתה ה
אלקנו מלך העולם
הוא יצרנו ככילים מן
החומר, נא לשמור לנו על
,משעושים פה מן החומר
ונא לברך את היצירותנו
,פה ובכל חיינו, וגם אותנו
.היצירותנו שלך. אמן

Blessed are You, God
 our God who is the ruler of the Universe
The one who created us, like vessels, from
clay, please guard for us
what we are making here from the clay,
and please bless our creations
here and in all our lives, and us as well,
who are Your creations.  Amen.

 It sits among the kiln gods, but it is not of them.

April 18, 2013

Hello World

Welcome to my blog. :)  On this blog, I'll mostly be posting Jewish stuff -- insights, connections I've made in daily life, and some poems.  I'll sometimes post other things, too -- most likely related to urban planning, transit, sustainability, local food, hippie stuff, design, sociology, and social justice issues.  This post is sort of a placeholder (so Google doesn't think I'm a robot again!) but I'll soon have a more substantive post.  It'll probably be about how I define myself Jewishly.  For now, though, I can give you this:  I believe in critical thought, learning, tradition, and pluralism.  I am compelled by halacha (Jewish law) but do not always follow the letter of the law.  I love to daven in the woods.  I eat quinoa on Pesach.

Laila tov!

P.S.  If someone wants to administer the Turing Test, I can prove I'm not a robot.