~ Wednesday, August 13, 2003 ~
It's time to start writing again.
In the extremely unlikely chance that there is someone reading this who doesn't already speak with me regularly (in the extremely unlikely chance that there is even anyone reading this at all), here is a brief update. I went to Manhattan for a summer program at Drisha Institute for the month of July, where I studied Tanach, Talmud, Biblical Hebrew, Chasidic Philosophy, and some other stuff. I love it, it's excellent, it's exactly where I want to be. The best part is that it's exactly Not an indoctrination station. The texts we study are profound and thought-provoking and problematic, and I could tell that some of the girls who had been brought up to Believe were encountering some serious cognitive dissonance. I, however, kept being delighted to encounter ideas that might make Belief possible. (Perhaps later I'll write about some of what the book of Jonah has to say about the nature of God and the nature of people, and why it struck me so hard.)
While there, I was notified of my acceptance to Drisha's year-long Beit Midrash program, about which I am superlatively excited. It'll be the perfect way to prepare for rabbinical school. Some of the [part-time] students at Drisha are already rabbinical students in their twenties or thirties who feel like they're not getting enough solid text-based training in school, and they need more, but most of the students are Orthodox girls just out of high school who are learning at Drisha (that's one of the peculiarities about the language of the Yeshiva world, with which Drisha identifies--you don't study; you learn. Goal-oriented, much?) instead of going to a normal university. The idea of attending a secular institution of higher education seems to strike most of the girls as some combination of irrelevant and scary.
[I realize this "brief update" is quickly becoming less-than-brief. Shouldn't really be surprising, considering this is me doing the writing...that, and I confess that I take a twisted sort of delight in snatching from the Brief its very brevity, therefore giving the Brief a de-Briefing. Cower before me, O Brief, while I increase your length, thus ending your existence! ...brief. What an odd word. I've now been staring at it for a sufficiently long time that I'm beginning to think I've spelled it wrong.]
Anyway, I, with my Reform background, am kind of in the minority there. Compared to them, I've led the life of a wild hell-raiser. Do you find this ridiculous? We have almost completely disparate sets of cultural references. My first day there, I got into the elevator (Drisha's classes are held on the 9th and 10th floors of a building known as The Jewish Center, which boasts one ancient and pitifully overworked elevator) and noticed that there were eleven floors in the building. Suddenly, I was struck by a brilliantly witty idea, and as I am wont to do, I decided I ought to share it. I gestured toward the button panel and, in a vaguely Cockneyish accent, I said to the girl standing next to me, "This one goes up to eleven."
"Yes," she said helpfully, "but Drisha's on nine."
But it's not only the lack of exposure to Spinal Tap. It's...they just haven't done ANYTHING. Most of the under-twenty set harbor a fear of boys, which manifests itself as resolute avoidance. They don't touch them; they don't talk to them; they don't even talk about them...except to discuss which 23-year old-cousin is FINALLY getting married. (I mean, my God, how long was she planning on waiting, anyway? It's not as if she's getting any younger.) They speak with disdain about that shul, where after services on Friday night, everybody socializes with each other over Kiddush. Horrors. Granted, if you're single and Jewish and you live in the Upper West Side, chances are you've experienced The Scene, and have quickly become disgusted with how fast and desperate everybody seems, but chatting with people over drinks and cookies? Even I, in all my prudity, have my limits.
(Actually, those would be metalimits--limits that I place upon my tendency to limit--but I think I do enough of making my reader(s) stop and go back in order to figure out what it is I mean that I didn't want to add to the confusion there.)
Where was I? Oh. So I'm going to be spending a year learning at Drisha, beginning September 1st, which means I'll be leaving from the Bay Area quite soon, most likely on the last Thursday in August. I still have to find a place to stay. Man. Finding an apartment is a full-time job. This is getting really painful...I've now had three places that would have been perfect for me, practically within my grasp, only to be notified that the renter has decided to give the room to someone else because they feel more comfortable renting to someone they've met in person. Cursed distance between here and Manhattan. (Oh, wait, that's part of the attraction.)
Um. I made a list of things I wanted to post, but the rest of the items will have to wait till later--I can hear craigslist.org calling my name. :P
cats are OK - purrr
dogs are OK - wooof
it IS okay to contact this poster with comments or other expressions of interest.
this is in or around Miriam's Sphere of Awareness
~ prattled by Miriam at 5:59 p.m. [+]
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