11 May 2007

To Begin Again?

[just thought I'd share here what I posted as a comment over at Jewcy.com]

1) I love Shavuot! It's true that I never did anything for it in my Conservative shul growing up -- until I was in 10th grade and we had Confirmation (a term I dislike intensely: if we insist on having it, can't we give it a good Hebrew name instead of sounding like Catholics?) on Shavuot, which is probably the most press it usually gets in the Reform & Conservative synagogue life-cycle -- but all of my celebrations of it in the past 10 years have been in non-Orthodox environments. And they've been pretty great!

The Shefa Shavuot Reflections put together last year might be of interest -- my contribution also has a nice recipe for galaktopita zarka, baked cream custard (from the Cookbook of the Jews of Greece).

I've also counted the omer each of those past 10 years, but only done anything cool for Lag B'Omer twice:

1) A Masorti (Conservative) Lag B'Omer retreat in the Lake District of England with folks from our Oxford Masorti group & those from Leeds Masorti. That's the only time I've learned any Lag B'Omer songs, though they were pretty weak ("Esh, esh" and "Hayom Lag B'Omer"): teaching me the round "Black socks" has given a more lasting addition to my repertoire...*

2) when we dropped by to visit my frummy Cleveland cousins & their 5 kids on our way home from Michigan -- we had the good fortune to be joining them on the 33rd day of the omer, so we got to enjoy a fabulous cookout in a local park with folks from one of the kids' schools. (Mmmmm, delicious kosher hamburgers!).

Maybe I'll be more motivated to do Lag B'Omer stuff when I have kids who want to toast marshmallows, etc...

2) Hey, Anonymous: I just finished reading Rabbi Naomi Levy's book To Begin Again -- I wonder if you would find it, and what it has to say about God and Judaism, to be helpful or interesting in your current state of confusion.

But being confused--or at least not satified with easy institutional answers--isn't such a bad thing...

*P.S. Also inspiring a parody about phylacteries:

Black box, with straps are tefillin,

Lubavitchers ask you to put on a set,

Someday, I'm going to get me some--

So far, like Rosenzweig, I say not yet,

not yet, not yet...

(This is no longer exactly true...though I'd still be interested in getting a pair written by the soferet who's the maker of Tefillin Barbie...)


Barnaby said...


Incidentally, Temple Shalom calls confirmation "Kabbalat Torah".


MiriyaB (Becca) said...

Thanks, haver bar-navi!

Kabbalat Torah is a much better term--and is totally appropriate for the setting of the ceremony on Shavuot! I'd love to see more shuls use it...