Thursday, October 26, 2006

Today was the sort of day I hoped for when I applied to rabbinical school.

I rolled out of bed at 6, and by 7 was rolling out of the garage, on my way to pick up a friend I drive on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We chatted happily, arrived at HUC, and I spent the entire morning studying Ezra 9 and 10 with Dr. Tamara Eskenazi, the hot-button chapters on intermarriage. We "turned it and turned it" and while I am not yet willing to say I know what those chapters say, I do feel safe in saying that the ways I have understood them in the past are quite wrong.

I wished Pearl good luck with her senior sermon and hopped back into the car, driving north to the San Fernando Valley to my internship. On the way, I stopped for a bite of lunch and quickly scanned the Los Angeles Times. (One thing I love about Los Angeles: not since I lived in Chicago have I lived in a city with a truly great newspaper. Even with the recent cuts, the Times is bliss for this confirmed newspaper junkie.)

The Home was all abuzz with preparations for the dedication of a new building, and the residents I serve were a bit buzzy by association. It was a good day for the student rabbi to come and hold hands, and listen to stories, and sing a prayer or two. I stopped for a bit to chat with the activities director, to share concerns about a couple of residents and to see how she is doing.

Then, when my hours there were done, I hopped back into the car, and (the one blot on the day) I joined the crawl of traffic back down Hwy 405 southward. Normally I stay in the Valley and study until the traffic breaks up a bit, but today I had a shiur [lesson] at my Ethics teacher's home, so there was nothing to do but get in the car and try to arrive on time.

It was well worth the annoyance of the drive: Professor Arthur Gross-Schaeffer is a rabbi, an attorney, and a CPA as well as a distinguished ethicist. He outlined for us his methodology for dealing with ethical questions, an elegant system. Beyond the content, though, it was a pleasure to be in the room with a man of erudition, holiness, and humor. I sincerely hope this isn't the last time I study with him.

And now here I am, pecking away at my laptop in the Starbuck's on Venice Blvd (it stays open late, and it's on the way home) since I don't have a high speed connection at home. I'm very, very tired, but equally happy. I learned a lot today.

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