Monday, May 18, 2009

Check, check, check it out.

I've decided that -- henceforth! -- whenever there's a divisive or potentially hazardous topic to be posted about, I'll be video blogging it. Why? Well, I think that my tone is missed in a lot of my writing. Where I mean to come off as joking, it comes off as hurtful. When I mean to be compassionate, it comes off as hateful. Not sure how it happens, but we all read ourselves into a text, which is probably why I don't see much of what others see in my words -- I see myself in the words, and me is kind, compassionate, articulate, and most of all, hopeful.

For today, however, I just wanted to share some links to reads and websites of interest. Enjoy, folks. Browse the internet through your own lens.

  • While searching for a text known as Magen Avraham -- a commentary by an 18th century rabbi on the Shulchan Aruch, which supposedly contains the standard for the four hour wait between meat and milk -- I was sent in the direction of two excellent resources. The first, the Halacha Brura and Birur Halacha Institute, does rare book searches and retrievals for scholars. I anticipate this coming in handy in my pursuits, and they are super fast on the response time, too. The other, the not-for-profit, is a total masterpiece for researchers like myself. This site is actually where I ended up finding the Magen Avraham text (albeit b'ivrit). You can search texts from seforim, haggadot, and more in English and Hebrew. 
  • Shimshonit makes a beautiful observation about women in Judaism -- we may be in a holding pattern, but it allows us to look forward. 
  • In my Google News Alert today, I came across a blog called Blogospherical Musings. The author's post that appeared in the alert is one on "Redefining Jewish Identity in 21st Century America." The author has some interesting points about how, by becoming more focused on Judaism as strictly revolving around religious practices, we risk assimilation, as we become like every other thread of American identity that revolves around religion as the be-all, end-all. Definitely an interesting read!
  • PopJudaica's blog posted a video explaining how Leonard Nimoy (of Star Trek fame) borrowed his Vulcan hand signs from the ancient rights of the Kohanim!
  • There's a new search engine out there called, and I don't really get it. Does anyone else? Something about computational knowledge ... 
In other news, I started reading "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible" by Jonathan Goldstein (I also picked up "People of the Book," by Geraldine Brooks), and I'm kind of surprised that it isn't as hilarious as I thought it would be.  Essentially Goldstein is expanding upon the Bible stories that are sort of washed over. We hear more about the relationship between Cain and Abel, the builders of the Tower of Babel and more details on the classics. Sometimes the narrative is simply witty in its humor, but other times it presents realistic truths and observations that aren't funny, but sobering. Either way, it's a really quick and fascinating read. I can't wait to get to Brooks' book, however. It looks absolutely fascinating.