Monday, February 27
Friday, February 24
I'm going to friday night italian tomorrow...the forbidden entree ceremony of Katherine, Rachel and most of their friends. It's going to be a big night. I'll wear my fancy pants.
Dude. I lost my rock climbing shoes.
Check out this cartoon, and its sequels, if you like them. I think they're hilariously adorable.
Here's the essay I'm submitting with my application to go to New Orleans and investigate Jewish Identity over the spring break. The questions to be answered were (1) why this program, (2) does community service/social justice relate to my life and Jewish identity, (3) what characteristics will I bring to the group on this trip, and (4) how will the trip impact my college experience and campus.
Response to essay questions:
I recently completed an essay about the four most recent generations of my family, and discovered that not just most, but that every single relation I know of—whether they immigrated from the Ukraine, Israel, Poland, and Russia—has been Jewish. I believe that spurred me into worrying how I plan to respond to that history, that cultural heirloom. When I found out that Kesher was holding this program, I was thrilled—I have a genuine desire to discover the value of my Judaism. I was also excited at the prospect of looking at Judaism as a force which motivates people to do charitable work and be productive, and the work I would be doing in New Orleans would be a great way to investigate that aspect of my currently dormant Jewish identity. Community service work will be a necessary part of my healthy adult life—and I think that if Judaism was a community which helped me get involved with that work, it would make my Jewish identity that much more important to me, and give me good reason to become more involved at a synagogue or Hillel program.
Investigating my Jewish identity and working for social justice through community service have always been personal projects for me, and yet I have never had the chance to consider both the same time. This specific program is important because I am graduating this semester, and I am unsure of what communities I can be involved with once I leave the institution of New York University. Now, more than at any other time in my life, I am trying to decide what role religion and community service will play in my adulthood.
To the student group, I will bring first and foremost an unfailing respect for the beliefs and needs of others. Considering my own liberality, I think I may find that most people are “more Jewish” than I am. But I am incredibly curious to ask them about their beliefs and use their knowledge of their Judaism to decide what is right for me. I am also generally not a shy person, and I certainly plan to be outgoing and warm towards the other people on the trip (almost none of whom I will know). Other things I plan to bring to the group include:
- Bad and unashamed dancing to any kind of music.
- Amateur juggling, balloon-animal making, and head/hand stand skills.
- A desire to run every day, and pursue this activity with new friends.
- Good jokes that my mother has told me.
As I am graduating with a BA in English and American literature in May, I will have only a short time to make an impact on NYU’s college campus and students. However, several programs I am involved in will help me bring my experience to others at the university quickly, and help me impact the NYU campus. I am currently an ambassador for the study abroad program, and will be a panel member at open forums about spirituality abroad in April and May. Certainly, this trip will help me better frame my experience as a Jewish student who studied in England last semester. I am also a regular writer for a small literary magazine, Wednesdays, which distributes over 1,000 copies each week around campus—to students of all spiritualities. I certainly plan on writing a reflective piece for this magazine when I return—with the hope that it will inspire others to investigate their own Judaism through the Hillel and Kesher programs.
I hope that you understand my need to investigate my Jewish values and identity, as well as my desire to understand Judaism as a productive, spiritual, and loving community. Thank you for your time!
Monday, February 20
- Vegans wear vegan clothes.
- Vegans can't use most condoms, and no birth control, since much of it contains casein.
- If a bear was attacking a vegan, the vegan would probably kill it if they could.
- I am concerned about overpopulation, which veganism certainly takes into account.
- I am not sure if veganism is a choice, or the lack of a choice. I for one would not like to make a decision about animal cruelty unless I know more about it, and more about what I think about it, and so veganism would be the natural alternative. BUT it is a choice to support vegan culture.
- I am not sure if vegan is low-cost and feasible. If it is not, I will not do it.
- As humans taking over the planet, we have a social responsibility to not be so wasteful.
- Raisins are yummy. So is cereal. They are both vegan.
Saturday, February 18
Here is a new toon.
The Cardigans, the band, rock my socks. Have you heard of them? Maybe not.
I'm going rock climbing after this post. I won the AllU rock climbing competition thursday! What a good thing. Unfortunately it wasn't exactly a skill-based competition, but I did manage to beat a big muscley guy from Stern. That made me feel good.
I'm going on a Kesher alternative spring break thing with Rachel, I think. My Grandparents sent me some birthday money, and it would cover it. It's relief work in New Orleans and some Jewish stuff...not sure if the latter will work out for me, but that's a part of my life I rarely mine for interesting things, so if nothing else it will be a discoverous week.
Tonight I'm also going to a comedy club. You should come with.
My sister is coming to visit me!
Yesterday I went to a basketball game where the school I've been observing played for a spot in the playoffs against Xavier high school (One, two). They lost, but it was really interesting. I got to speak to a very high class English teacher there, and learned a little about the school...technically, these are obvservation hours.
New York is pretty.
I submitted my poetry for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Poetry Prize! I was highly honored with a nomination, as I mentioned the other time. I submitted the following three poems, in this order:
When the only colors are cold
and the living dark,
I press hard
and my hand holds
Sweat gone cold
I hold a little closer
out of curiosity, and
Under my pants, I find
and some strange,
I try to write through
the slices of blue dark
through the shades. Then
we awaken, arms
Quaaludes to fail physicals,
asthma and memories
of broken bones.
You lied to the armed forces
And now here we are, free white Jews
on a white Christmas.
My mushroom omelet arrives
on a continuum, and everyone basks
in the Sunday morning of it all.
Third poem ='ed this toon.
Music: Happy Meal II, by The Cardigans.
Sunday, February 12
Hit % : 20
Damage : 0-Annoying pts. per day, +2 cumulative.
Effects : -5 mph points to all vehicles and pedestrians. +5 to quietness on the streets, all character classes get a +6 homebodyness and +3 stat bonus for winter wonderland childhood memories.
Area affected : The entire darn city.
Hey, so I went shooting and baking yesterday, with Rachel. It was something special. I even got to wear my scarf while I did it, which means I felt a little like Rambo crossed with The Little Prince. Here, you be the judge.
Now tell me we're not seperated at birth--Sylvester Stallone, me, and The Little Prince. Of course, by seperated at birth I mean blown apart by an explosive arrow fired from the top of a building in an abandoned city. And then forced to survive in the wild, on our commando/bird wrangling/rifling skills.
Outside of Rachelage, though, it was a weird day yesterday. I got very frustrated with myself, I need to think less.
Music: "Kate" by Ben Folds Five. "Cosmopolitans" by Erin Mckeown.
Thursday, February 9
- Saturday = me + new buddy Rachel Coleman going the West Side pistol and rifle firing range, to bust some caps.
- It's nothing official yet, but I may be going to graduate school in Israel. Fascinating? I should think so.
- Tomorrow morning I have a job interview for a PR company called Hyde Park Communications, which I got through Emily, who was also my partner in visiting DC last weekend! (Photo Safari Below.)
- I have started observing at St. Agnes High School, where Emily's friend Ted (who teaches English and Spanish brilliantly there) has been letting me observe him and his co-workers. Neato baijito! More info + photos later.
- I'm going to a poetry reading Saturday at 8. It's at the Bowery Poetry Club. Show up.
- I got my ambassadorship for the Study Abroad program!
- I'm probably going to go for the rock wall job, since the job I'm interviewing tomorrow, and the rock wall, currently closed, will be open after spring break...
- I tried racquetball today (best racquet sport ever, it's like Homicidal death Ping-pong), and Pantea and I went rock climbing! Good stuff.
We went for 2.5 days.
The first day, we left on a bus at 7 AM on a Chinatown bus. Got in around 12, walked 5 miles to the hostel (it was a nice day), dropped the stuff, went to the center of the city around 2! It was gowdjeous.
We basically hung out around the reflecting pool (it was supposed to rain that weekend, and it was sunny then, so it seemed like good a time as any) , saw the white house at sunset (One, two), and then read near the Lincoln Memorial. There was this square where all the states had little monuments that I didn't know was there, it was at one end of the reflecting pool. Emily (One, two) and I both proceeded to look pretty there. It probably has a name, but I don't know what it is. Funny, though. Look what's next to New York's memorial.
Emily took a picture of some people, and I took a picture of her doing it. It was abstract. She also checked for lost quarters underneath the Washington monument. I guess you don't know, but Emily's pretty much ripped. I'm not that strong, so I did an impression instead.
Dude. It got dark then, so we walked to Georgetown, had a cup of tea, went to the hostel, and bought some kickin' groceries. Salad, pesto pasta, and some animal crackers for me. Happy day.
The second day, as predicted, was a little moist in DC. This happened. Also, we went to the Holocaust Museum...which was amazing. No pictures, sorry. You should really go and see it for yourself, though. I knew it was perverse, but it's just odd to see what happened...to interact with one of the terrible events of history. Most interestingly, the whole thing is presented in a very unbiased way--it's not all "oh, how horrible this was," because you get that anyway. The interesting part for me was seeing so much about it, and just looking at this very encompassing collection of media on the topic. I never really had a lot of time to see this kind of stuff, see a lot of discussion about it.
It rained a lot, so we ended up doing a lot of reading in a Starbucks that afternoon. Good times.
Then, we went back and made dinner, went to sleep. Same as last night.
The third day, it rained again. We took an (un)magical tour of the Museum of the American Indian, which was both depressing and weird. There was a ceremony held in the main hall that day, which was strange because it was just a bunch of tourists watching people in costumes who really didn't seem to take themselves seriously, although they were American Indians. I kept thinking, why did they build this museum instead of buying back more land for the Indians? Why set up a tombstone/museum for something that's trying not to die? It's not very inspiring.
The best thing about the American Indian museum was, WITHOUT A DOUBT, the black hole they had set up for the ducks. Those Indians, they know how to have a good time. Despite the blankets infected with yellow fever that Jackson knowingly used to poison and kill them while marching them on the trail of tears. That man goes on the big jerks in history list.
Later that day we went to the US Botannical Gardens, which was actually quite the bee's knees. I didn't even know we had one of those. Check out these pretty flowers (One, two, three.) I'd suggest this one, if only for the little exhibits where you can smell the raw cinnamon and watch flowers grow really quickly. It was fascinating.
Before we left on the Chinatown bus again (this time at 5 PM), we walked around and saw the capitol building, which is a pretty rockin' one indeed.
Things that don't fit anywhere else:
- NYC subways - crowding + Elegance + 1984 architecture = DC subways.
- NYC Chase Bank + DC = Hilarious. I didn't know the other Mr. Chase was such a jack of all trades.
- This building was empty on a friday. Hah.
- You heard the government building. I'm a metrosexual.
- I guess even politicians have a sense of humor about what they do. I couldn't help but take a picture of this...
- Sad statues.
- Finally! I found it. I knew the real one was somewhere.
- He needed the help.
- You bet your home-made patonkas it is.