Monday, June 20, 2005

What I Did Before, During, and After Shavuot

1) Participated in an exchange of comments on the high cost of Jewish living over at Bloghead.

2) Led a discussion on interpretations of Exodus 20:2 by Halevi, ibn Ezra, and Mendelssohn at my synagogue's Tikkun Leyl Shavuot. If you're interested, we looked at Kuzari 1: 10-25; ibn Ezra ad. loc and Jerusalem, pp.97-98 in the Arkush translation. If you read Hebrew, I also recommend Warren Zev Harvey's article on the subject in Tarbiz 57 (1988): 203-216.

3) Took children to synagogue to receive little stuffed Torah toys, to parade down the aisle and place an orange and apple on the bimah, and to eat candy. My daughter believes very strongly that if one goes to shul, God will provide lollipops during Adon Olam.

4) Took children to see a great exhibit--"The Material World of Childhood"--at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The favorite thing was the "Bilibo". Go here to find out what this is.

5) Had dinner with our friends, the devout Christians. They are the librarians for their church and found in a box full of stuff in the basement an old Hebrew book. Well, as the name of the blog suggests, that's my cup of tea (cliche or ordinary language?). So after dinner they pulled out part 4 of Sefer Li-Felugot Reuven by Selig Reuben Bengis (Berlin, 1924). (Not that old by my standards.) Bengis, at the time he published this collection of sermons preached on the occasion of completing Talmud tractates, was the rabbi of Kalvarija, Lithuania. In 1938, he moved to Palestine and became second-in-command of Ha-Edah ha-Haredit in Jerusalem. He became head of this ultra-Orthodox community in 1949 shortly after the creation of the State of Israel. According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, Bengis was a somewhat moderate anti-Zionist in his leadership of ha-Edah ha-Haredit, "curbing its most extreme wing, the Naturai Karta."

What I did not do over the Shavuot holiday: eat cheesecake. But we did have blintzes and cottage cheese muffins. And hold on--we did have to keep calling the cottage cheese muffins "mini cottage cheese cakes" since my daughter had wanted to make a cake out of cottage cheese. (Don't ask.) So maybe that counts as my cheesecake for the holiday.

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