Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The new "quad" off and running, yikes -- for those of you who aren't fluent in HUC-speak, that means my classes have changed a bit, my schedule not at all. The new goodies: Early Modern Jewish History, Midrash 2, and Jewish Mysticism/Kabbalah. Lots to prepare, as always, and the faster I run the behinder I get, but that's ok, I'm learning.

One not-so-great thing is that Mondays and Wednesdays are now completely in the basement. As I've mentioned before, our class is large; the class behind us is also large. We are too big for most of the classrooms at HUC-LA. Last year we had most of our classes in the student lounge and in the beit midrash, which was not good because those really should be common areas, not classrooms. This year, my class is taking most of its classes in some new rooms in the basement. On the one hand, we are learning some lovely Torah. On the other hand, it is really odd to spend an entire day in a windowless room with poor ventilation. At lunch we can wander a bit, if lunchtime is not taken up with something.

On the other hand, we really are learning some lovely stuff. I've been very resistant to the idea of studying kabbalah, but so far, I'm enchanted. The translations are a bear, and don't make sense until Dr. Fishbane helps us see how to decode it, but it is a whole new way of thinking about Torah.

The text of the sermon I mentioned in an earlier posting, about Jewish tradition, kashrut, and vegetarianism, is now online. You can find it at -- scroll down and click on "Prophetic Priorities." Oh, and by the way -- the NRJ folks aren't allowed to mention it, but since I don't work for them, I can: if you click on their ads, it helps support their site.

While I'm mentioning sites I like, are you familiar with Mark Fiore? He's a political cartoonist in Northern California.

If you think webcams are fun (I do) check out the Mt. St. Helen's VolcanoCam. Some of the photos of the mountain are breaktaking, even when the volcano is quiet.

I don't live in Tennessee history anymore, but I have found a column in the Nashville paper, The Tennessean, that I enjoy very much. It's Learn Nashville, and is a local history column. George Zepp, who writes it, does more than research local curiosities -- he's a storyteller. Take a look.

OK, enough ads. I'm short on sleep and should have been snoozing an hour ago. Be well.

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