Monday, April 28, 2008
In the meantime...
Are you a Good Protege?
America's Most Overrated Product: The Bachelor's Degree
Monday, April 14, 2008
So, McGill it is, for sure! Yeah!---------------------------
I apologize for waiting until the last minute to contact you about the fate of our waiting list in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU. Several students with outstanding offers have waited until the last minute to respond, in some cases because like you, they are visiting campuses or keeping open the possibility of a last-minute offer from another school.I am sorry to say that we have decided to close down our waiting list after accepting just one student from it. From our side, this has been good news, because we had the best yield from tendered offers that I have seen in all my years at NYU, after a weak year last time around. The result is that we have to say no to some excellent candidates, who have prospects for real success in these fields. We wish you the best good fortune as you make your plans from this point forward.
Monday, April 7, 2008
When I stopped covering, I expected some sort of reaction. This community isn’t exactly a hotbed of progressiveness, and while we are already sidled up to line on the “left,” we are still a part of the community. Which is why I found it odd that no one – not one person – asked me why I stopped. Unless you count my 8 year old daughter. I was baffled, especially since I vividly remember the nameless rebbetzin, who I didn’t even know, who called my MIL shortly after DH and I got married to “talk” to her about my way of dress. “I saw her there standing on the street corner, with her hair covered, but she was wearing pants – sweatpants! I thought your son was frum!” So, yes, I was standing on the street corner, waiting for the bus that would take me to the “El” that would take me to college – and my first class of the morning was a gym class. So my MIL called my DH to tell him about the phone call, and I had a crisis – did this mean I couldn’t wear pants at all, ever??? DH told me to calm down, that of course I could, this was some person who didn’t know me, know us, and that I couldn’t let their opinion guide how I lived. But it did – I wore skirts only for many months after that, only changing into sweats right before gym class and changing back out right afterwards.
So you can indeed understand why I thought it odd that no one questioned my lack of hat. Of course, I had no doubt that they were whispering behind my back; I’d heard it often enough about other topics and other people to know it would happen. “Was she wearing a shaitel or did she have her hair uncovered?” “Did you see her?? Why did she stop?” But no one had the gall to say anything to me, to question my motive. You would think I would be grateful, right?
This, quite honestly, is problematic in a community, in any community. I learned this when we lived in
I’m not certain we’ve found it yet; we haven’t yet visiting
But it’s not just that. I spent half of the morning a few Fridays ago calling daycares in
It all started once upon a time back in Cambridge, right around JR's 2nd birthday. He was upset about something, crying, he started coughing and then he threw up. Okay, not exactly pretty, but as a parent you expect these things to happen and you take care of it.
It happened again the next day. And the next. And pretty much once a day for months on end. It wasn't always following a crying fit. And for quite a while we didn't see any consistency, or at least we didn't notice it. But after a few months we were almost always able to predict when a coughing fit would lead to vomiting. We used to collect those vomit-bags from airplane trips and carry them around with us, so we'd be ready. And of course we took JR to his Dr., not someone I adored, but it was his pediatrician in Cambridge. He told us that because JR was still gaining weight normally we shouldn't worry about it too much (against my better judgment) and that it was probably just a habit he had developed. That he'd grow out of it. (But how many kids do you know who have the habit of vomiting on a daily basis??)
We moved back to Chicagoland, and it still continued. We got better at predicting when it was going to happen. And I started to notice a pattern - the vomiting was always preceded by coughing, and the coughing was brought on by anything that affect his breathing - crying/tantrums or exercise (i.e. running around, playing roughly, etc.). I told DH "I think he has asthma." DH wasn't sure - didn't asthmatics wheeze? JR never wheezed that we could hear. In August, about 7 months after this whole thing started, we had some friends over, one of whom was a resident. After playing with the kids for a bit, the resident turns to us and asks, "So, JR has asthma, right?" We told him the situation, and he encouraged us to have it checked out more thoroughly.
So off we went to the pediatrician - this time to the one we actually really liked (vs. the one in Cambridge). He referred us to an allergist, and after some basic testing and then putting JR on singulair, a medication for asthma (and, it seems, for seasonal allergies), we saw improvement. Within the first month, JR stopped vomiting every day - still every few days, but still. During the 2nd month JR threw up perhaps 2x. We went to see the allergist again, and she reported to us that because of his improvement, she was diagnosing him with asthma. (A little backwards, but I guess if it works...) JR has been on the singulair ever since, and also has an inhaler for attacks (which only seem to come in the middle of the night or the early morning).
We've had a few scares, more than one trip to the emergency room - one on Shabbat, which was scary in and of itself. (I sent DH to an early minyan where there was a Dr so we could ask how worried we should be, and when he and the Rabbi heard DH telling him what JR's symptoms were, they told him to RUN home and call a cab and go right in the Emergency room. It was frightening!) B"H JR does okay with it, he even seemed in good spirits this morning (although he's got to be tired -we certainly are!) and eager to head into school.
So spring is back and so is JR's asthma. Lots of fun.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
The wedding begins with the Kabalat Panim, aka bride's reception, and the Tish, aka groom's reception. Where the kallah (bride) is sitting there is usually a lavish amount of food and drink, and the bride, who is usually seated in a throne-like chair greets guests as they come in. During the Tish, where there is usually some food (and usually a bunch of liquor), the men (and yes, it does just tend to be the men) greet the chatan (groom), drink, and perhaps sing a bit. And then they get down to business.I should also add that the kallah and chatan, by tradition, not halacha, don't usually see each other for a period of time before the actual veiling, which may be another reason they are in separate rooms.First is the signing of the Tanaim, something akin to a prenuptial, although it has more to do with the details of the forthcoming marriage. There are two witnesses who sign the Tanaim. (Note DH, who is sticking out his tongue!)
After the Tanaim is signed and the plate is broken comes the signing of the Ketubah - the marriage contract. The officiating Rabbi looks over the Ketubah to make sure that all the information is correct, and then two witnesses sign the Ketubah (which is also read under the Chuppah).The Bedeken - or veiling - is next (and this is my favorite part of every wedding - I cry no matter what!). The groom is escorted, usually with much singing and dancing, to where the kallah is seated. Keep in mind that (at least in our case) they haven't seen each other in a while, so the anticipation is intense! When the groom finally reaches the bride, he gets to take her veil and cover her face. And as you can see, I was crying even at my own!After the Bedeken, the chatan (groom) puts on his kittel (a white, robe-like garment that is worn first at the wedding, and then (at least in DH's family) on Yom Kippur and during the Sederim on Pesach. A man is also buried in his kittel.) and heads down the aisle. The kallah (bride) then heads down (with any combination of parents, bridesmaids, attendants, etc.) the aisle, and joins the chatan under the Chuppah.Escorted by our mothers (although I think it may be traditional for it to be by the kallah's parents), the kallah circles the chatan 7x, and then stands to the right of the chatan. Kiddush - the blessing over the wine - is read by the officiating rabbi. The bride and groom then each drink some of the wine. Then, the chatan holds the ring in his right hand. There are two witnesses, who verify that the ring belongs to the chatan,and then they watch as the chatan says to the kallah "You are consecrated to me by means of this ring, according to the ritual of Moses and Israel." The ring is immediately places on the bride's right index finger, and the bride and groom are, at this point, officially married. At this point, the Ketubah is usually read. A second cup of wine is filled, and then the sheva brachot - seven blessings - are said, usually by inviting men that the families want to honor to the chuppah to read them. The bride & groom then drink, then the groom smashes the glass with his right foot.The chuppah is over at this point, and the bride and groom exit the room, usually to much singing, dancing, and lots of confetti.At this point, the chatan and the kallah to into Yichud, the first time they've had the opportunity to be alone together after the marriage. In my experience, this is where the bride and groom break their fast (as they fast on their wedding day), and also exchange wedding gifts. I gave DH his wedding band, and he gave me a string of pearls. The guests are usually enjoying an elaborate smorgasbord - we had soups, a mashed potato bar, and a variety of baked goods. After Yichud, we also took many pictures together and with family.
Then, for the first time, the couple is introduced as "Mr. and Mrs. XXXXX" and they come into the room where dinner will be served, and then separate to do quite a bit of dancing. Note, as you look through these pictures, that it is a mitzvah to make the bride and groom happy. So there's usually some strange stuff that goes on at weddings!It's also traditional (perhaps only recently, not sure) for the Chatan to sing Aishet Chayil to his new wife. At the weddings we've been to where this happens - including ours - the chatan's friends help out, or, as is in our case, try and make things more difficult:There's no good reason for this picture, except DH and I like it. We call it our "Moshiach" picture, - we have no ideAt the end of the meal, the Sheva Brachot are again recited at the end of Grace After Meals. At this point, the wedding is over whenever everyone leaves.For the week following the wedding, friends and family usually host meals in honor of the marriage. At the end of the meals, the Sheva Brachot are again recited. And because you haven't had enough of us, here are a few other random pictures :-)
This is when DH met my father for the first time, before we were married. My father decided to "dress up" for the occasion - as a biker. It was pretty funny!
This was the sukkah that DH helped me build at my undergraduate school. Other members of the Hillel were supposed to help, but only one other person showed up.Here we are on a trip to NYC about a year after we were married:This was at the L'Chaim (engagement party) of DH's next youngest brother:Well, I hope you enjoyed the show!
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
I gave the paper on Monday, and was terrified. My mom had reminded me that in High School I had performed in numerous plays, sometimes as the lead role, and that I *liked* to be the center of attention. But honestly, I was more nervous that my paper wouldn't be received well than anything else. There were about 20 people in the room for my presentation (which is a nice number for a paper at these regional conferences!).
And so I began. It went beautifully! Once or twice I strayed from my written text to explain things more thoroughly, and I made sure to make eye contact with my audience. I finished about 15.5 minutes after I had started, took a BIG drink of water, and then set about to answering the questions, of which there were about 7, which is a nice number, too, for a paper at a small conference. Guess what? I was able to answer all the questions! I had limited my paper to only Josephus' text specifically on the Sicarii and Masada, but I've done a bunch more research, and most questions were about things that I could pull out of that additional research.
Afterwards, I had people - including professors! - coming up and introducing themselves to me, asking me questions about the paper and my work and the details of my affiliation (since I'm currently unaffiliated, I had been listed as being a part of HDS, which of course is my previous affiliation. Anyway, they all wanted to know why someone from Boston was presenting in St. Louis!). I was invited back next year, too, by the person who set up the conference.
All in all, it couldn't have gone better. Well, perhaps if I didn't have to drive so far!
I got home about 30 hours after I left. The kids, it seemed, barely noticed I was gone. When I picked up the Z-girl and told her to "gimme a kiss" she informed me in her not-so-subtle way that she was indeed aware that I had left her. She smacked me and emphatically said "Maman!" before cuddling up against me. Claire and JR spent the remainder of their evening before bed jumping around on me and playing tickling games. Yum.
It's so nice to be home. And to have this experience under my belt!