So on to the news.
I have posted things before that I wrote for writing classes held at my synagogue by my friend Lynn. They have usually been related to the High Holidays, but this year the class is less focused, and one class was very close to Pesach. The assignment was to invite a character to a seder. Some class members are writing novels, and used their fictional characters, but we could use real people or historical people, or pretty much anyone.
After thinking about it, I decided to bring my mother to the seder I attend every year.
It was easy to write the background, but when I got to the seder itself, I blocked. I realized I did not want her there. It was too late to completely rethink my piece, so the rest of the assignment changed then, and became about why I didn't.
This feels more personal than what I usually write here at Daily Kos, even though I have written personal diaries before, usually on health-related matters. I hope you will bear with me.
Of course there has been much commentary about her talk, some sympathetic and some skeptical. When I listened to her speak, I was more impressed with her than I imagined I could be, though I kept wondering about a woman who would keep a dress without having it cleaned. But she has chosen an important cause, and is an eloquent advocate. And whatever one thinks of her personally, the fact remains that Bill Clinton lost nothing ultimately, while her life was forever damaged.
Seven years ago this week-end I had asked to do the d'var Torah at my synagogue. My birthday was on Shabbat, and it was my first birthday after having cancer, my 60th. I was still recovering and weak, but it seemed right to do my first d'var Torah after cancer on my birthday. It was a different parsha, Tzav, and I talked about how things seemed new, and how I was marking events as before and after cancer, and how it must have felt dedicating the Mishkan and performing the sacrifices for the first time.
This year my birthday is not on Shabbat, but the next day, but again I wanted to mark the date with a drosh.
Purim begins today at sundown. It is customary to dress in costume; we read the Megillah (the Book of Esther) and whenever Haman's name is mentioned we make as much noise as possible to drown it out. We are also commanded to get so drunk that we confuse Haman and Mordechai.
Purim is the first holiday not named in Torah, and it is a holiday of exile, of the diaspora.
Most of us learned early that we didn't come up to the mark socially - because even then the mark was measured by whether boys found you attractive.
Yesterday I went to the vet to pick up my dog's medication. An older man was there. One of the desk clerks must have asked him about what he was doing for his wife, because he said he didn't usually do anything special, adding "I always think that if you need a special day to tell her you love her it might as well be divorce day."
But some women have found a way to use this day to focus on victims of that violence that is the opposite of love. February 14th was chosen for the Memorial March for Missing Indigenous Women.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our starsThere are many things this parsha brings to mind for me and I thought about writing each of them so long that I only just started to write this morning.
But in ourselves that we are underlings.
For example, how I dislike the God portrayed in Exodus, who sometimes seems more like a court magician than adonai tzevaot, the lord of hosts, or like someone trying desperately to attract a lover. Or how I sometimes think of this reading as "I kvetch, therefore I am" as the Israelites seem unable to keep the idea of God before them even after taking part in an event as impressive as the parting of the waters.
The week also saw the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. We will look at his record on women's issues, including his possibly imprisoned daughters.
On January 7, 1955, sixty years ago today, American contralto Marian Anderson sang the role of Ulrica in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She was the first African-American ever to walk onto that stage, and her debut was shamefully overdue. Anderson was 58 at the time.
Here is the aria Re dell' abisso, affretati from that production:
Time for a new year
we've used up the old one, and
are ready to move.
New Year's Eve - champagne,
fireworks, crowds in Times Square
wait til the ball drops.
This was originally published to the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona blog.
BROOKLINE, MASS., DEC. 30 — A gunman dressed in black opened fire with a rifle at two abortion clinics here this morning, killing two female staff workers and wounding at least five other people.This matter-of-fact sentence was the opening of a Washington Post story on December 31, 1994. Today marks the 20th anniversary of these shootings at the Planned Parenthood and Preterm Health Services clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.
In the Northern Hemisphere much of winter is lived in the dark. I remember when I lived in New England, I would wake up and leave for work in the dark and it would be dark again when I left to go home. Here in Arizona it's not so bad, partly because of the latitude and partly because we don't have Daylight Savings Time - but it still affects us. My dog often lets me sleep 'til seven o'clock or later - at seven the sky is still pretty dark - though I've had to make six the earliest I would feed her since most of the year she's up even earlier than that.
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