trystinn: (Hebrew)
It's dreadfully difficult to take a picture of. Without a flash you can see the lights, but nothing else. With the flash, you cannot see the lights!



I'll keep trying, folks. Meanwhile, enjoy!

P.S. Yes, I'm going to wrap some boxes and settle them around the base to hide the prongs.
trystinn: (Hebrew)
There's a lovely Holy Day coming around on April 8th/14 Nissan 5769 that I though I'd share with folks. Birkat Hachama only occurs every 28 years (the Jewish solar cycle), so we place it in the "only a few times in a lifetime" category, which is a bit of a shame as it's a lovely recognition of our place in the Universe and the Powers that Be that grant us life here on Earth.

Birkat Hachama celebrates the creation of the Sun during the the 4th day of Creation. Specifically, Nissan begins at Spring Equinox, and Birkat Hachama recognizes that the Sun has returned to it's place of Creation, called the Turning Point. However, this is no astronomical event (i.e. no great alignment) to observe, this is considered a metaphysical Holy Day.

In Bereshit/Genesis: 1:14-19 the passage that describes the creation of the Sun also explains: "And Hashem made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night and the stars. And Hashem placed them in the sky of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from darkness; and Hashem saw that it was good. And it was evening and it was morning, a fourth day."

We are told that the Sun arises like a bridegroom from his bridal chamber, rejoicing like a great warrior.

To celebrate this, one recites the "Blessing of the Sun" (among other prayers) but the holiday actually recognizes much more than just the Sun - this Holy Day is in appreciation for all the Natural Wonders: mountains, comets, lightning, etc. And it ends, most appropriately, with the beautiful and haunting Mourner's Kaddish, arguably the most beautiful of Hashem's gifts to the Jewish people.

More to come.
trystinn: (Hebrew)
Communication is the greatest weakness. Each Jew uses (note: not speaks, uses) three languages:

1. Native language
2. Ethnic references - mine are Ashkenazi & Yiddish
3. A least a smattering of Hebrew (if Hebrew isn't your native, then you probably know one of the various biblical forms, for me its Tiberian).

Imagine trying to answer a question. Do you answer in English (#1), Yiddish using Ashkenazi references (#2) or the 'proper' Hebrew term (#3)? Because really, you cannot assume.

Then there's the craziness of traditions. I put an orange on the passover table to honor homosexuals, its a uniquely American tradition that's growing. Translating Jewish traditions to gentiles is fun: take a branch and a fruit, then shake them at people. Traditional Wiccans get that lovely Eureka moment and think "of course!", the rest look at you funny and think you've gone crazy.

Brought to you by a discussion on Tallit. Or is it Tallis? Or arba kanfot? Me, I tend to call it a prayer shawl.

As for the Great Conspiracy: Meh. Let the Freemasons do it.
trystinn: (Hebrew)
A few of the Jewish lists I belong to are a buzz with the news about yet another fraudulent holocaust memoir being found out. Jews are pretty forgiving about folks who write memoirs of the Shoah. A few factual or timeline inaccuracies are quietly tucked back as being par for the PTSD course, as it were. By and large, memoirs aren't challenged for historical accuracies, of course. There's something vaguely anti-Semetic about those who do, especially the Holocaust deniers. And so, these books are rarely fact checked even as the Red Cross is under increasing pressure to release the Holocaust archives they are still holding tightly to (making this kind of research even harder). In fact, once an author is targeted for fact checking, the publisher and agent are quick to identify these acts as anti-Semetic and anti-Holocaust rhetoric. When these books are fact checked, the reviewer is often scrutinized far greater than the author - see criticism about "Night" by Eli Wiesel for more on this. The only fact checkers who are allowed to criticize these books are Jewish survivors, themselves, or their families left behind (such is the case with the book "Misha", the family's survivors are quick to point out the author usurped their family name and history). Genealogists and historians have become the heroes in this endeavor, thankfully, no matter what their backgrounds are.

The main issue seems to center upon the number of these being written by gentiles claiming to be Jews. Which somehow makes it all that much worse, frankly. If a catholic, gypsy or homosexual is writing about the horrors of their experience with the Nazis - welcome all to Hell's bandwagon and all that. By all means, Jews were not the only victims by any stretch of the imagination. We're often the only ones talked about, but a trip to the Holocaust Museum will educate even the most naive.

So why all these gentiles in Jewish clothing books? There's a lot of psychology floating about to explain this. Identifying with the horror of the Holocaust, malingering of their own situations, the very understandable PTSD making decisions and creating justifications for what was done. The cynical may claim that a Jewish Holocaust story has a greater audience than a catholic one, especially with the very complicated role the catholic church held during WWII. At the end of the day, the explanation seems far more complicated than greed, over-whelming empathy or delusion. And the horrible decision to publish as non-fiction when a book is clearly fiction taints everyone involved.
trystinn: (Hebrew)
I have a slight bullying problem when it comes to missionaries, which is why I'm not allowed to answer the door when someone else is home. Especially those who insist on returning to my home on a regular basis after we've given them a polite shove off. This week's visit came on rabbit cage cleaning day, when I'm already in a bad mood. However, I am wearing my best monster foot slippers, big black furry clawed ones. Got that mental picture? Good, here we go.

M: Do you think government is doing a good job at taking care of our most vulnerable? Women, children, senior citizens, etc.?
T: Absolutely not. The political machine in this country is corrupt.
M: Great! I have a quote here *pause to flip through latter half of Christian bible* . . .
T: We're a Jewish home.
M: Huh?
T: Jewish home. See the Mezuzah (point to one on doorframe). We're Jewish.
H: Oh, typically I read Jesus' words at this point. So I'll read from Daniel. . . *insane flippage looking for correct chapter*
T: I know the quote you mean, don't worry about it. The Torah is considerably shorter, so its easier to study.
M: *Becoming desperate* So you raise rabbits? *looking at Bunhalla over front fence*
T: No, I rescue rabbits.
M: We raised rabbits when I was a kid, kept food on the table many a night.
T: *stern look* They aren't kosher you realize. *very offended look at his mixed cotton and wool suit*
M: Oh, well we'd like to give you our literature, a free gift from the Jehovah's Witness...
T: Do
not
say his name! You may not utter the name of G-d, its forbidden! *looks down at Watchtower magazines, throw them in the air and start wiping hands* You may not defame his name by writing it on documents!
M: *looks uncomfortable* Maybe we'll return later.
T: Thank you and God bless!
trystinn: (TOL Ten)
Short summaries )

Expect a lot of posts on these, volunteers for the TOL Oracle will be requested at some point. I may create a filter so I don't bore half my Flist with these posts.

Protocols.

Feb. 26th, 2008 02:12 pm
trystinn: (Twin Pillars)
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For Sadie.
trystinn: (Hebrew)
Once more with feeling, the local Jewish community has scheduled a public holiday on a day I wasn't expecting it. For reasons entirely inane, I somehow had the idea that the Whidbey Jews were going to celebrate the weekend after the holiday instead of the weekend before. Which lands it directly on the weekend [livejournal.com profile] dbmyrrha and [livejournal.com profile] chyara are coming up. Fortunately, both charming ladies have agreed to attend.

This holiday is celebrated with a Seder, a special dinner, to celebrate the New Year of Trees. Yep, all Jewish trees age a year on Tu Bishvat.
How one figures out if a tree is Jewish entails checking it for root trimming (circumcision), the top foliage for a yarmulke and checking for kosher status by dangling a cheeseburger in front of the tree.
For the sake of the seder, all trees are considered Jewish on this day. Even those without clipped limbs.

Tu Bishvat is the ecological holiday of the Jewish year, as conversations over the seder center around discussions of minimizing our environmental impact,
reducing carbon emissions while driving to shabbos and the use of non-petroleum oil usage in our menorahs
. Fruits and nuts are eaten, as are rare and exotic fruits (I couldn't make this up if I tried) to celebrate the bio-diversity of Creation.

There's a lovely re-interpretation of the Four Worlds (typically physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual) as social, cosmic, national, ecological. Which still follows the pattern of the Four Worlds; Emanations, Creations, Formations and Actions. Should be a good seder.
trystinn: (Psychic)
Traditionally, the lighting of Shabbos candles is made some moments before dark on Friday to mark the beginning of the Jewish Shabbos. As this is a practical experience, as well as spiritual one, it makes sense to continue this beautiful tradition. Begin by collecting your candles (one for each person you would like blessed), let the candles be for this purpose only, and placing a charity box somewhere it may remain until completion of Havdalah. This is an excellent time to remind folks of the coven kitty, if appropriate, or a suitable charity that has been agreed upon. Being mindful of the needs of others and the blessings we have been given is a wonderful way to begin by offering what we can to those who need our support.

Clicky )
trystinn: (Mystic)
Havdalah occurs just after sunset and completes the Shabbos, it is for this reason that it is called "Separation" in Hebrew. Perhaps, too, pagans need a way to formalize the ending of our own Sabbats and can use this as a way of completing those tasks set before us at our holy days.

You will need )
trystinn: (furries)
For those that didn't get to see them elsewhere:

This is how the Kosher Laws were written.

"Kosher Talk"
A dialogue while Moses is at the top of Mt. Sinai....

G~d: And remember Moses, in the laws of keeping Kosher, never cook a calf in its mother's milk. It is cruel.

Moses: Ohhhhh! So you are saying we should never eat milk and meat together.

G~d: No, what I'm saying is, never cook a calf in its mother's milk.

Moses: Oh, Lord forgive my ignorance! What you are really saying is we should wait six hours
after eating meat to eat milk so the two are not in our stomachs.

G~d: No, Moses, listen to me. I am saying, don't cook a calf in its mother's milk!!!

Moses: Oh, Lord! Please don't strike me down for my stupidity! What you mean is we should have a separate
set of dishes for milk and a separate set for meat and if we make a mistake we have to bury that dish outside....

G~d: Moses, do whatever the hell you want..........
trystinn: (Default)
Jewish Holidays

As a general principle, Jewish holidays are divided between days on which you must starve and days on which you must overeat. Many Jews observe no fewer than 16 fasts throughout the Jewish year, based on the time-honored principle that even if you are sure that you are ritually purified, you definitely aren't. Though there are manyfeasts and fasts, there are no holidays requiring light snacking.

Note: Unlike Christians, who simply attend church on special days(e.g. Easter, Christmas, etc.), on Jewish holidays most Jews take the whole day off. This is because Jews, for historical and personal
reasons, are more stressed out.

The Diet Guide to the Jewish Holidays:

Rosh Hashanah -- Feast
Tzom Gedalia -- Fast
Yom Kippur -- More fasting
Sukkot -- Feast
Hashanah Rabbah -- More feasting
Simchat Torah -- Keep feasting
Month of Heshvan -- No feasts or fasts for a whole month. Get a grip
on yourself.
Hanukkah -- Eat potato pancakes
Tenth of Tevet -- Do not eat potato pancakes
Tu B'Shevat -- Feast
Fast of Esther -- Fast
Purim -- Eat pastry
Passover -- Do not eat pastry
Shavuot -- Dairy feast (cheesecake, blintzes etc.)
17th of Tammuz -- Fast (definitely no cheesecake or blintzes)
Tish B'Av -- Very strict fast (don't even think about cheesecake or
blintzes)
Month of Elul -- End of cycle.


Enroll in Center for Eating Disorders before High Holidays arrive
again.

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