Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Every-now-and-again Hodgepodge Post

For some reason, my dermatologist is fascinated with kabbalah (that is, he's fascinated with all the hoopla), so during my procedure today I explained what (little) I know about it to him. When I was there last week, he asked questions about why I was Jewish, if you recall, which I blogged about here. I just thought it was interesting, and if anything, it kept my mind off of the bit that was going on on my back. Two weeks of gauzing and healing and hopefully I'll be done dealing with this blasted problem. It's funny because I asked him whether genetics play a role in skin cancer, and he said that a lot of the time they do, but a lot of the time it's also time spent in the sun. The thing is ... I don't know if you all have looked at me lately, but I'm the last person you see sun bathing. I learned to love my pasty-white skin early on and I actually avoid the sun most of the time. How peculiar then, eh?

At any rate, I thought I'd share a few tidbits of information I found lately relating to the world o' Judaism in some capacity or another. So here you go, all the stuff that's fit to print.

+ Starring presently as Squeak in Oprah's The Color Purple is someone you might not suspect to be a Jew! It's Stephanie St. James, who is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. St. James, whose father is a Guyenese-born Israeli, identifies herself as neither African or American, but identifies very strongly with her Jewish roots and intends on raising her eventual children in a Jewish home. You can read her story here.

+ I know I blogged about the only kosher culinary school before, but I can't seem to find a link. The school, Jerusalem Culinary Institute located in Israel, was sort of a difficult venture for Jews in the Diaspora. Though many successful Jewish and kosher cooks come out of other programs, many have wanted and sought out a school that focuses on kosher cooking. Well, guess what!? Recently opened in Flatbush in New York is the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts. The intensive program is six weeks and costs a mere $4,500. There's a story by JTA here.

+ A new documentary focuses on the gap between Israeli and Diaspora Jews, questioning when and how it happened. The film follows American Jews of all walks as they visit Israel. I guess the film came out earlier this year, but it's the first I'm hearing about it unless I completely missed something. The film is called Eyes Wide Open and you can visit the website here.

+ Over on, Shimshonit has blogged about an upcoming book by Professor Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis. Yes, had I chosen Brandeis over UConn, I could probably have experienced greatness. But, well, those hefty student loans just didn't appeal to me. At any rate, his new book sounds pretty fascinating. The book, A Time to Every Purpose: Letters to a Young Jew, explores not so much the why to be Jewish, but the how. From what I can gather, it's an essential introduction/reintroduction to Judaism.

That's all for now, readers. Come back tomorrow when hopefully I have something worthwhile to say about my impending move to Connecticut where I will have to settle into a college-style Jewish community, how it will relate/compare to my undergraduate experience, and what it means for shul-going ... and how often I might trek myself down to NYC for some Jew-time on the weekends (Peter Pan buses, hooray!).