Monday, August 09, 2004

Back in L.A...

Today is a stretching day, one of several I've scheduled this week. I started the day by showing up for the regular minyan at a local Conservative synagogue. I decided that it was stupid, this one time in my life when I can for sure daven with a minyan every day, and I'm not doing it. So when I can be there, I will be there. And "can" means "do not have a committment elsewhere" not "goofing off at home". (It also can't mean "I'm too embarrassed." As the rabbis point out to us, the shy do not learn.) Once school starts, I'll pray there.

Other stretches lie ahead, some I'll mention here and some I won't. One way I know that I'm really living on Jewish time these days is that the New Year really starts for me on Rosh HaShanah, and the preceding month (Elul) is the month of admitting to stuff and fixing what I can. It's Honesty Month, for mending relationships, with others and with God. I am extrapolating a bit, and including "myself" in the people with whom I need to mend things. And that is all I am going to say about that.

A month of friends and family in the Bay Area -- which I stretched to five weeks because I couldn't bring myself to go quite so soon -- was just the ticket: I feel ready to go back to school, which is truly a miracle. The hardest thing for me about L.A. is the people who aren't here; it gets lonesome. And sometimes it just has to be -- I'd be lousy company, with my nose in the books -- but another of my resolutions for the coming year is that I'm going home regularly. And phoning friends more often.

I got the dreaded exegesis paper back from Dr. Eskenazi-- the paper I agonized over most of June! -- and she liked it, she really liked it. I don't know when I've been so thrilled with a good grade on a paper; it's a lovely feeling, to put all I've got into a project and think that "that was pretty good, I think" and then hear from the teacher, "yeah, it was a good job." And what I learned, I get to keep.

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