Sunday, February 15, 2004

My first Shabbat in Jerusalem, two meals at friends'. Last night at Randy's (no sniggering ... it's a bit of an old joke for him now) 3 of the 8 at dinner were cantorial students. I have never heard a shalom aleichem like it. Today I've spent round at Alex's. He continued his campaign to foist on me the works of his current philosophical darling, Yeshayahu Leibowitz. Leibowitz basically says that whenever you do something religious because you hope to benefit from it, you're desecrating the religious act. That means claims that following halacha (Jewish law) makes you a better or happier person entirely miss the point. That doesn't sound so radical, but I find it quite troubling a) because it makes sense and b) because I'm constantly evaluating my religious engagement in terms of benefit and experience - spiritual, moral, social. Anyway, I've just started reading his essays, so I'll continue to think about it.

Jason Collin and I just walked from Alex's to mine. While we'd been inside all day it had snowed and settled. It's not very thick but they don't grit the roads or the pavements here, and the 5 minute walk took us at least 15 as we slid around and complained about the snow filling our shoes. I've been in Jerusalem 5 days. We've had an earthquake and it's snowed.

Thanks to everyone who signed my guestbook, I really appreciate it.
Emma - I taught them the niggun. Cantorial students!
Clare - give me time! Not sure how much possibility there is here actually :o(
Jon - mmm that sticky barbecued chicken. Almost made me consider coming back to DfES. Actually ... no.

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