Thursday, July 29, 2010
Thanks, Harvey, for being willing to share your struggles with us!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
This kind of spiritual sustenance is what can not only comfort us, but also inspire us to do things that would have seemed not only impossible, but even miraculous. I am reminded of how Nelson Mandela was able to find this kind of sustenance in another very short work, the Victorian poem Invictus -- something that helped him find not only the courage to survive decades of bitter imprisonment, but to be able to emerge from it unbroken: still able to love other human beings and unbelievably still able to move past anger to profound forgiveness and reconciliation. (Minna and I this week watched the brilliant Clint Eastwood movie of the same name, which documents one small part of what Mandela did after his imprisonment.)
Jews everywhere have been reclaiming the Book of Psalms as our own in recent years and finding comfort and wisdom within its ancient words, traditionally credited to King David. I am so grateful for this free contribution Schechter is making to this movement of reclaiming!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
|From Lunchtime harvest|
I'm so grateful to be able to have a garden this year!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
This summer has in many ways been the realization of many long-deferred dreams for me. After years of living in dorm rooms and small apartments, I have moved into a house. In its small yard, I have been able to grow my first vegetable garden in some 20 years. Being able to pick a piece of produce off the vine and eat it, fresh, right away is part of a dream I had since college of living a little more right with the Earth, of being a little less of a petroleum-gorging machine trapped in the rat race of a technological civilization. A dream of living close to the things and places we interact with daily. This summer, I walk or bicycle to work every day and only actually get in a car a couple of times a week. I feel free from the hunger to acquire more material things. I feel a great peace.
The hospital only a few hundred yards away where I am working this summer, however -- with all its incredible technology for extending life (and all the pain and loss its inhabitants experience amid injury and illness) -- is a constant reminder that I am not leaving the material, or technological civilization, behind in any complete or permanent way. One day I, too, may need all those machines. One day I, too, may be struggling in a hospital dead. And one day I will die.
"Life is a narrow bridge," Rebbe Nachman of Bratlav taught us. "The most important thing is not to be afraid."
This summer I have been less afraid. I have been sustained by the realization of past dreams -- both my own and of others. But I am also sustained by my dreams of the future, by my own hopes to build a "forest" -- a forest that looks like it has always been there. My dreams there have to do with the education of rabbis as spiritual caregivers. It's a field that in some ways is very ancient, and in other, important ways, is only in its infancy. Come the fall, God willing, I will return to my doctoral studies and NYU and to my focus on pursuing future dreams. May it be the will of the Holy Blessed One that those dreams will yield rich fruit -- many pines where only one once stood. And may it be the Holy One's will that I will be able to find balance on that journey -- to be able to continue to enjoy the fruit of past dreams as I pursue the new ones.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
It struck me that this film treats violence against women -- including two scenes depicting brutal rapes of the title character by a man appointed to protect her -- in a very different way than is typical of Hollywood films. In Hollywood, violence against women tends to be depicted in a sensationalist, almost fetishistic, way that seems to communicate a very troubling underlying message -- that women a) need to be careful, and b) they must stay in the protection of men (ie, they are not capable of protecting themselves).
It was refreshing to watch a film with such a different approach -- an approach that felt so much more true to life. In life, it is a terrible truth that many, maybe even most, women are victims of sexual violence in their lifetimes. This violence is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated by any decent society. It has to be stopped, and it is women themselves who are capable of taking the lead to stop it (a lead that men surely need to follow). And, so, in this film, we are offered the character of a strong, exceptionally talented woman who is capable of her own defense. She, tragically, like so many women, is victimized. We watch the rape scenes with only revulsion -- with no titillation. It hurts to watch them. We want to stop them.
We have to stop them.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
A week ago, I had cut this then-bushy basil plant back to next to nothing -- now it's starting to come back with these little new leaves!
Here's a pic of the whole plant:
And here's a pic of our Wapsipinicon peach, which yielded our very first tomato of the season, a few days ago. It's growing at a fantastic pace now, with lots of tomatoes all over it. A couple more had ripened over Shabbat, so after Shabbat was over, Minna (by flashlight!) harvested two. They were really delicious, much better than the first one had been, so I'm really looking forward to the rest of these ripening!
Happy 4th of July!
Did you notice the new upgrade on Google Docs, by the way? They seem to have added a whole host of new features to make it more like a traditional word processor like Microsoft Word (including things like a ruler at the top of the page).
That seems to hold the promise of being able to control the printed appearance of documents in a way that was not possible before. But to get all those new features, they seem to have taken away a number of ones that were my favorite things about Google Docs. You don't seem to be able to post directly to your blog, anymore. And there's no more "hide controls" (which freed up a lot of screen space) or "edit html." I hope, at least, that soon they will add a "view draft" feature or something to allow you to get some of that screen real estate back.
Google does address some of these concerns here. This is some of what they say:
What else is different?
You'll probably notice that some features from the older version of Google documents aren't available yet. Don't worry: we'll be adding a lot of them soon.
These features from the previous version of Google documents, however, won't be available in the new version:
- Offline document access via Google Gears
- Edit HTML
- Edit CSS
Keyboard shortcuts have also changed. Check the list of new keyboard shortcuts.You can continue to create documents in the older version, for now, by opting out of the new version. Simply go to your Google Docs Settings page, click the Editing tab, and deselect the option labeled "Create new text documents using the latest version of the document editor."
Want to continue creating docs in the old version of Google documents? Let us know why in the Google Docs help forum.