Monday, December 26, 2005

What Am I Learning at Limmud

To understand Limmud, I have learned, is to understand that this is an "alternative" situation. The Orthodox, per se, don't participate in that Uunited Synagogue Rabbis don't come. The Shabbat Minyan had about 100 people, though, so there is a presence but it is more the stalking ground of the Masorati (Conservative), the Progressive (Reform), the cultural, the mixed, the etc., etc.

Feminism, Hinduism, Mysticism, art, song, story-telling, creative endeavors, et al. are the leading topics of interest.

I had a very low, but really low turnout for my Hasbara/Media session, 50 for the Disengagement talk, 25 for the Temple Mount address. One trick I used was last night, at David Landau's talk on HaAretz, when I managed to get in the first question. Since David & I know each other, he called me by my knickname, awarded me a compliment as to my abilities and was delighted that I asked the question (about his anti-CAMERA missive). That drew a bit of attention and maybe helped. After all, there are some 1800 people here from all over the world and 700 presentations to choose from.

One thing I can't get used to are the many men with kippot that don't know a thing about Jewish practice as well as some who will not even stop to participate in a Kedusha for Mincha. In fact, at Shabbat Kiddush, after the singing died done, I started in with Eshet Chayil in the Carlebach melody but was hushed down by a glare from the leader who was about to make Kiddush. Those who know me wouldn't be surprised to know that I tried valiantly to continue but once again the glare. So I plaintively said "but it's Eshet Chayil" and that even didn't work (I thought maybe he didn't know that everybody says Eshet Chayil on Friday night).

The second error, I think, was at Havdallah. Now, I know this is a multi-cultural group but still, at the time of Shabbat ending, a guitar was brought out and then 12 people came in with Havdallah candles. We, the Orhtodox, weren't forced to be m'challel Shabbat but we ended up davening some 20 minutes later. I think the proper solution would have been for someone to say aloud; "baruch hamavdil bein kadosh l'chol" and at the very least, that would have given the semblance of proper Halachic decorum.

Otherwise, the weather is cold and today, Monday, turned to a drizzle for a short while.

It is a great place to meet people from literally all over the globe. There's a special group from Israel, located around Shlomi, who will be initiating Limmud in Israel and a group from Russia with the same intent. Etti Ankri is here giving workshops.

But, with Gideon Levy scheduled to go later tonight, the fireworks should begin.

I shall try to report later as now I have to light my Chanukiyah.

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