liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] liv
I spent last week sorting out a lot of bureaucracy around grad student transitions as the academic year turns, and after masses of pushing and arguing suddenly everything fell into place and my institute decided to help me and my little group instead of obstructing us. For example, having spent months arguing over whether they owe me £1800 they suddenly went, oops, our mistake, we actually owe you slightly over £5K. (Not my personal money, research funding.) I hate to sound ungrateful but the money would have been a lot more use a year ago when we couldn't do the research we wanted to because we didn't have the money, but coming now it does feel like a nice windfall.

Further, a slight mixup meant that I am officially on vacation this week. So I went off to celebrate the new year on a high, looking forward to a few days' break, albeit with the hard work of leading the Rosh haShana service in the middle.

The weekend was really truncated with having to get back to Stoke in time for the eve of Rosh haShana Sunday night, but I managed to have a relaxing time anyway. Quiet day with [personal profile] jack talking and getting started on the much-neglected garden, and then a nice evening with [personal profile] cjwatson, when we got takeaway and watched Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell ep 4. I didn't manage to blog about it, but I really enjoyed episode 3 with the gloriously creepy zombies. All the mirrors of the world is certainly good too, and I did like Petherbridge's King George III, he's not dramatically stage-mad, just a sad, confused old man.

I spent most of Sunday on trains; there was an accident leading to major disruption, but it was handled really well with good communication and advising people on alternative, albeit slower, routes. And then suddenly it was Rosh haShana, and in spite of spending lots of the week preparing for it and talking about it it seemed too fast. It's early this year, which is part of it. And every year I'm thrown by how little the Orthodox evening service is, it's almost a standard weekday evening service, which seems an anti-climax when it's the start of this big festival season. But it was just lovely, everybody was excited to see old friends and wearing their new clothes and full of buzz for the new year. And BC, a Keele alumna, turned up and she's just landed a really fancy job and she and I and GS went out for drinks after the service and spent much of the evening telling really silly jokes. Mostly the kind where words ambiguously refer to either parts of anatomy or annoying people.

And the service on Monday went really well. We had a minyan all the way through, and everybody participated in the service, doing honours or reading bits of poetry. And people paid attention to the showpiece bit in Musaf even though I just read it out rather than singing it. I preached about how the language of forgiveness can be misused to enable abusers, either in interpersonal relationships or in a community context. Partly sparking off this post by [personal profile] kaberett on differences between forgiveness and reconciliation, and referencing Pervocracy's missing stair post. I got quite a lot of pushback, partly from people who were very insistent that we're commanded to forgive and putting limits on that is against Torah, and partly from people who have direct experience working with criminals and helping them with rehabilitation. I'm really glad, though, I felt I got through to people and gave them something to think about, beyond the usual HHD platitudes.

I grabbed a quick lunch at Weatherspoons with GS, and then returned to Cambridge, yes, too much travelling, but it was worth it. I had a lovely evening in the Queen Edith pub, with friends who didn't mind that I was a bit tired and out of it. I didn't quite get the PIE I was hoping for as the pub didn't really have enough food for a party of nine, but never mind, they rustled up something vegetarian even if uninspiring. The pub's divided into two halves and we had a room mostly to ourselves, and also they had Floris honey lambic beer, which seemed pretty seasonally appropriate as well as being delicious.

And for once I was actually able to attend services for second day; I went to the exciting new Reform synagogue and saw lots of the people who remember me from a kid and enjoyed being just someone in the congregation and not in charge of anything. A musical, spiritual, knowledgeable congregation, too, which made it even more of a treat. It's hard to express how much that was good for me; I'm more and more thinking that I need to find a job in Cambridge and live there full time, and needing a Jewish community where I actually belong is part of the reason.

I did Tashlich in the Cam by Jesus Green, which combined very well with playing with [livejournal.com profile] ghoti and her younger kids in the excellent pirate-ship themed playground there. We all got pretty soaked; I usually expect good weather for Rosh haShana but even though it's early this year it's been miserable. So we went to Dunkin Donuts for hot drinks and sugar, and they had an apple-shaped and apple-filled doughnut on special, so that seemed like a good equivalent for apples and honey. [personal profile] jack joined us after work, and he and I went to my parents' for dinner, where I managed to catch my little cousin who's visiting from Australia at the moment.

Yesterday was really really frustrating; Dad and coz brought my Granny over for tea in the afternoon, which was really nice but we got the timing a bit wrong and missed the train I'd hoped to catch back to Keele. And then the trains I did catch were impossibly crowded, and I had a run of breaking things luck. I mean, you're supposed to celebrate the new year with new stuff, right, but I really did not want to be forced to replace my glasses and my netbook and my handbag. I'll try to use the last of my not entirely intentional time off work to see if I can get them repaired instead. Plus the cold that's been threatening for a bit is definitely here, I feel slightly miserable.

Anyway, all good wishes for the coming year to anyone for whom it's relevant.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-17 12:37 pm (UTC)
ceb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceb
Happy new year :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-17 01:26 pm (UTC)
damerell: (trouble)
From: [personal profile] damerell
He's a confused old man in the books... but I gather he may actually have been pants-on-head mad at some points.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-17 01:43 pm (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
Happy new year (if it's OK for someone not Jewish to say that?).
I hope the cold goes away soon and you have some more enjoyable time off.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-17 02:31 pm (UTC)
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
From: [personal profile] mathcathy
You managed to talk through some things that I'd have written whole rant posts about in single lines there. Well done.

I'm feeling slightly miserable too. Being out of time-sync with everyone is tougher than I realised it would be, and here for only 4 weeks means it isn't really worth engaging with local people and trying to build a life. Hopefully, if it comes to that, I'll be able to find a place to live that is nearer the downtown than my current hotel and Toronto people will be easier to make a life around than Stoke people.

That was a tough city to meet people and make connections in. I can hardly believe I was there nearly 5 years and have only about 2 people I stayed in touch with more than about a month.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-18 01:09 am (UTC)
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
From: [personal profile] mathcathy
And I guess it already wasn't a new place since I've been here a couple of times before.

As everything, it'll pass and the weekends I've planned so as not to feel exceptionally lonely are exciting.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-18 01:10 am (UTC)
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
From: [personal profile] mathcathy
Stoke was weird. Like Worcester, not a transient place, so everyone had lived there since they were little and had established deep relationships.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-17 02:45 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
And every year I'm thrown by how little the Orthodox evening service is, it's almost a standard weekday evening service, which seems an anti-climax when it's the start of this big festival season.

I'm often thrown by this too... The rhythm feels off, like it feels like you ought to be adding in some selichos or piyyutim or something to emphasize the emotional enormity of the moment.

On a purely mundane note, it precedes a big holiday meal, so I don't want it to run long because I'm anticipating the meal.

But it does have the first time with the special Rosh Hashanah insertions into the Amidah, and that moment always has some spiritual heft for me, of "Okay, now I need to reorient myself into thinking about Hashem's malchus, this is a special way of praying that I don't do the rest of the year."

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-17 07:47 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Chag sameach!

Yeah, Judaism is a really hard religion to do without other Jews.

This Rosh Hashanah was novel for us because it was the first time my brand new brother-in-law came for the holiday, which caused some stress for my mother as she worried about accommodating his dietary needs, and otherwise general nervousness about how he would fit into the family dynamic over a two day stay. But I think it went pretty well.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-21 04:14 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
I can see that it would be really tough to be part of a community that needs you but can't give you everything you need from them. I've pretty much always been in places where you could shop around a bit to find a Jewish community that fit because there were choices available, but when I've traveled I've seen smaller Jewish communities where that wasn't the case and where compromises needed to be made. I've seen that it's a strain on everyone, but that it's not an equal strain on everyone. So you have my sympathies.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-17 04:21 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
I really did not want to be forced to replace my glasses and my netbook and my handbag

Ouch! I normally try to spread these things out over the year (glasses and old laptop done, probably safe on the handbag front), but getting them out of the way at the start might have advantages ;) Hope the rest of the year goes better!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-17 11:43 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
I think the netbook must have been stood on

We had a kindle stood on during the sailing, if I'd realised there was one in the bag I'd have warned its owner that wasn't a good place for it, but I only found out when she visibly paled as our skipper jumped on it (not his fault, he couldn't even see the bag was there).

I have no idea how / whether that solution accommodates disabled passengers at all

Not looking forward to finding out! I've noticed the buses they use for rail-replacement tend to be non-wheelchair friendly, but I've not had to use one since going wheelie.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-17 08:16 pm (UTC)
lethargic_man: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lethargic_man
Oh, I'm glad you're continuing to push on with Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. The pace sags a little in the middle, but really picks up for the last two episodes.

And every year I'm thrown by how little the Orthodox evening service is, it's almost a standard weekday evening service, which seems an anti-climax when it's the start of this big festival season.

What really adds to it, though I see this would be a problem for you, is the tunes. I hope your community were able to fill these in by themselves, through long exposure to them.

Plus the cold that's been threatening for a bit is definitely here, I feel slightly miserable.

You too? I got through leading PDZ on the second day at Grassroots Jews by virtue of lots of lemon and ginger tea and the occasional Strepsil; after my fourth one-hour walk in the space of two days the dam burst and the cold developed into a fever. Now I'm supposed to be leading a service at the Wittenbergs' tomorrow, and both me and the other person who volunteered to do so are homebound with colds; and gabbaiing at Assif the day after, and taking [livejournal.com profile] aviva_m to Brighton Pavilion (which I've never more than once seen from the outside) on Sunday, and now none of that is likely to happen, grrr!

But I'm using an icon with a cheery face, so it can't be that bad.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-17 09:23 pm (UTC)
lethargic_man: (capel)
From: [personal profile] lethargic_man
Also there's basically nothing in Ortho erev RH to sing, it's just nusach, and absolutely nobody knows nusach here

It was indeed nusach that I was referring to; it really helps set the mood.

I am working on finding ways to get the musical but mostly Reform or non-Jewish background people to learn the Anglo-Orthodox tunes and reestablish them within the community, but lots of that isn't on the internet anywhere, it's all swamped by Israeli, Chassidic and American (mostly Polish in origin I think) stuff.

Well, here's a starter for you, courtesy of Grassroots Jews. (I haven't listened to most of these myself; I don't know whether they're what you're after, but you should be able to tell, I believe.) Or failing that, I don't mind recording tunes myself for you (though probably not for YK this year!).
Edited Date: 2015-09-17 09:25 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-20 03:59 pm (UTC)
switterbeet: (happy sloth)
From: [personal profile] switterbeet
Happy New Year! :D

I am not of the organized religion, but it's posts and experiences like these that friends share which make me understand how much community and growth it can bring to people's lives.

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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