Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Wedding

The Wedding was perfect. It was eclectic, traditional, classic and funky. Much like the Balabusta. I loved it. The only thing that could have possibly made it any better would be if all of my grandparents had lived to attend. It was the best wedding ever. I became a sort of wedding superhero, the Kallah, able to deflect evil with her Bridal Glow (TM). It was awesome.

My comadres of honor, (Basya and Niamh for the purposes of the blog) got me dressed and did my makeup, and my hair, and pinned the veil in with seven bobby pins. (This, after two days of driving me around, helping me get the groom a suit, soothing my jitters, getting me a bra, taking me to the mikvah, and picking up my wedding cake.) My in-laws brought leis for everyone from Hawaii.The wedding party assembled, went downstairs, read the ketubah and signed it, and then headed off to process into the chapel.

Up to this point, everything had been going eerily smoothly, in part because I had not realized, in my daze, (and veil-induced haze) that my grandmother had not yet arrived. This became clear when my parents threw themselves in front of the assembling processional to demand another five minutes on the chance that she might yet show.

This was, by me, fine, because I was protected from nerves by my Bridal Glow, and I simply pottered around in the hall for the next ten minutes, meeting and greeting small children born to my friends in the time since I saw them last, and being radiant at everyone. The only small fallout from it was that the musicians played 'Erev Shel Shoshanim' for approximately fifteen minutes, got tired of it, and switched to something else by the time I was walking down the aisle. I didn't care. Also, my grandmother arrived during this time.

We had a perfect ceremony. Our friends stood around us, and the flower girl, Raizy, sat on the floor by the chuppah next to her mother and played with her flower petals. (She still had them all, since she had not really wanted to do the scattering thing.) There was one minor hold-up when the door to the chapel next to the bimah on which we were all standing opened, and some guy we haven't been able to identify tried to prop it open with a chair until the groom and the rabbi glared sufficiently to make him go away. "A wedding of surprises," said the rabbi faintly, but I was protected by my Bridal Glow, and felt that if the gentleman wanted to come in, we should welcome him. (I didn't mention this, I just stood there and glowed. I have no idea who this person was.) The groom, although he won't admit it, was glowing a little too, or maybe that was just my Bridal Vision. He looked--perfect.

(UPDATE: We have since discovered, through comparing notes with relatives, that the person who opened the door was my seven-year-old cousin, who was wandering the halls, heard voices, and decided to check it out. Since the groom reports seeing an adult male, I speculate that this was said cousin's father, trying to remove cousin from the scene.)

The reception was also perfect. I mention, as highlights:

The amazing wonderful toasts by my father and the best man.

The tear-inducing beautiful hula danced by my new mother-in-law in honor of the wedding.

The beautiful songs sung by my high school friend/bridesmaid Tehilah, including my high school prom theme...oy, nostalgia!

Taking pictures with my grandmother in the courtyard.

The fact that the groom, disatisfied with the stomping of the glass, (it sort of split down the middle, and part of it shot out of the envelope it was in) returned to the scene to crunch it a couple more time. It's in fragments. The people putting it in the Lucite cube are gonna have their work cut out for them.

Seeing Chava, who was widowed May before last, continuing to blossom and heal and be her wonderful self (and with a possible future husband accompanying her!)

Meeting all the babies my friends have had since I saw them last. (Shalvah has big blue eyes and is absolutely edible. Moshe, brother of Raizy and son of Gilah, nearly two, upon being led to the buffet, threw out his arms and shouted "BACON!". His mother told him that she was pretty sure that whatever there was to eat, it wasn't bacon. I think he was OK with the roast beef sandwiches and grilled veggies.)

Blessing my maids of honor in the courtyard of the synagogue I grew up in.

Hugging my parents before we headed off on a very short honeymoon.

Oh. And the fact that Basya and Niamh not only DELIVERED my clean clothes which had been forgotten to the honeymoon hotel, but then CAME BACK two days later, and collected not only us, but all our wedding presents, and drove us home--gratitude does not begin to describe it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Am Married

Details to follow.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Anti-Semitic Mural Arts 202

Here we go again.

Back in 1994, San Francisco State unveiled a mural of Malcolm X on campus, which included magen Davids, dollar signs, skulls and bones, and the words "African Blood".

The artist insisted that it was not meant to offend Jews, but "represent(ed) Malcolm X's anti-Israel sentiments."

Robert Corrigan, SFSU President and tool of the Zionist Conspiracy, announced that it was coming down. All hell broke loose. After weeks of hysterical posturing, including a student table with a banner announcing that they were "Anti-Zionist, not Anti-Semitic", and including photographs of Robert Corrigan wearing a kippa at the Western Wall, compromise was reached, and a modified version of the mural remained up.

I had ample opportunity to check out the student group's literature, because that was the summer I was taking a handful of classes at SFSU to cover my science requirement at Mills. Can't tell you how super I felt to be on campus.

Some years later, in the spring of 2002, I sat around a table with some Jewish activists who, a couple of days before, had attended a pro-Israel, pro-peace rally at SFSU to speak about their experiences as Jews violently expelled from Arab countries. They didn't make much of the fact that the event turned into a near-riot due to "anti-Zionist" protestors yelling things like "Hitler did not finish the job" at Jewish students. They'd seen a lot worse--crowds yelling the same thing, and armed to the teeth. ("Leave me alone, or I'll call the police. What do you mean, you are the police?") I, on the other hand, was a little agitated when I realized how badly things had gone...

Not too long after that, I applied for a job at SF Hillel. During the interview, I commented that the situation must be tense for young Jews on the SFSU campus. This was shrugged off by the then director. It was fine, I was told. The whole thing had been because of a few bad apples who had since graduated. All was well.

Well, heeeeere we go again. The mural above, featuring the late Dr. Edward Said, the al-Aksa mosque, folk dancers, small children reading under an olive tree, and possibly a partridge in same tree, is going up at SFSU. What's not going up, after Robert Corrigan's steadfast refusal, is the bit on the right-hand side showing the cartoon figure Handala holding a key labelled, in Arabic, "The Return".

Honestly, I am just surprised that it took this long, and impressed that Corrigan is still going after all these years. What's deeply angering me, though, is the coverage of this in the j., successor to the Northern California Jewish Bulletin. They write:

More than two years of debate, hand-wringing and intense dissection of what exactly a cartoon character holding a key means has ended.

Robert Corrigan, president of San Francisco State University, approved a mural celebrating the late Palestinian activist professor Edward Said last month after an agreement was made to remove elements that campus Jewish groups claimed were symbols of violence and promoted the destruction of Israel.

“I think this is a victory for moderation. The mural as it stands now is a celebration of Palestinian culture and that’s not something we should be objecting to,” said Alon Shalev, the executive director of San Francisco Hillel.

I beg your pardon, Alon, but why the hell not, given the intensely anti-Semitic history of Palestinian student organizations on campus, and the obvious fact that any attempt to put up a 'celebration of Jewish culture' on these walls would lead to total insanity of an unprecedented nature even on the SFSU campus?

My kneejerk liberal reaction is that of course I can't justify saying that there shouldn't be a mural for Said, just because I wouldn't have voted one in myself, he's just another popular lefty scholar of the moment, and of course, Palestinian culture is very nice and all...but my kneejerk liberal reaction is wrong. This is different from the other murals up at State, even the Malcolm X one.

Rabbi Doug Kahn, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, praised Corrigan for “insisting that blatantly offensive symbols are not included” in the mural.
Representatives of SFSU’s General Union of Palestinian Students did not return calls or emails.

Wonder why.

The key — pun intended — of Jewish concern with the mural was the inclusion of the Palestinian cartoon character Handala. The illustrated child, which some claim is a symbol of violent resistance, was holding a key in his hand. Campus Jewish groups claim this was a veiled reference to Palestinians’ right of return to Israel and the destruction of the Jewish state.

Not all that veiled, given the inscription. BTW, the General Union of Palestinian Students' petition online claims that "the Palestinian key, in conjunction with the word ‘Al-Awda,’ represents how Palestinians have adapted to different cultures without forgetting where they came from. The Palestinian house key is the symbol that represents a collective memory, culture and identity of the Palestinian Diaspora whose families still carry keys to the only homes they knew."

The contested mural — and Corrigan’s blocking of it or any other mural gracing SFSU’s main quad in 2006 — had long been a sore point within the pro-Palestinian community.

At a vitriolic anti-Israel confab held on the SFSU campus last summer, speaker Eyad Kishawi said Corrigan had rejected the mural because of the influence exerted by “racist, chauvinist people.”

The Palestinian student union hopes to have the mural up on the Cesar Chavez Student Center by Nov. 2. Corrigan will review the artist’s final rendering prior to the mural’s installation.
Shalev hopes this accord is the first step in improved relations between Jewish and Palestinian campus groups.

Mr. Shalev is an optimistic man. Wish I was that optimistic.

“We are cautiously optimistic about that. We feel the moderates within the Palestinian movement are the ones who have won and that’s a good sign for us,” he said.
“The last couple of years, our Israel Coalition has been putting out feelers all the time, inviting them to all the concerts we’ve had on campus. And they’ve been coming, which they hadn’t in the past.”

Ummm...WHAT Palestinian moderates? From everything I've heard so far, Robert Corrigan is the only Palestinian moderate out there. And he's not even Palestinian. Glad they're going to concerts, though. Concerts of what?

Also, this has been going on for two years. I never heard about it before, and I'm fairly plugged in to the Bay Area Jewish Community. Why the hell were we not out there? Why the hell was Hillel not out there? Why are we taking this, again?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Oriental Beef Skillet

In my neverending search for more recipes. (MORE recipes), I have been spending some time with a 1968 Better Homes and Gardens publication entitled "Casserole Cookbook". Some of the things they have are actually pretty good, and will be cooked by me. Some of them...

Well, take the Oriental Beef Skillet mentioned above. If I asked you to guess its ingredients, how long would you have had to guess before you came up with '10-ounce can of cream of mushroom soup'? Yeah, me too.

I have discovered the real reason you can't mix poultry and dairy. It's not to create a further fence around the law. It's to prevent Jews from eating the 'Chicken Pecan Waffles'. Or the 'Black Magic Luncheon'.

And did you know that tamales come from cans? I didn't know this.

Old recipe books are strange, strange things.


We're ten days out:

10. Still unemployed. Interviewed yesterday at a nice school which is .59 miles from my home--this would be nice! Have interview Monday at school which I would have to wake up at 5 each weekday morning to get to--less nice. Need to get driving. Turned down interviews at two schools in Antioch.

9. We still need to get the fella clothed for the wedding. He is currently thinking a black sport coat and black slacks. We need to go shopping. Alternatively, I could buy him a bekishe and a shtreimel.

8. I still have not read the last Harry Potter book. I am broke, that's part of it. I am also very tense, and not sure I can do it justice. Avoiding spoilers is getting difficult.

7. New housework tracking system appears useful. (I can detail it further if anyone is interested.)

6. Shout out mazels tovs for me at DovBear!

5. Caterer is nagging me for head count. One family has just RSVPed with eight members coming (no, not relatives of mine, this is Chava and Drora's family. I went to high school with Chava.) We're trying to figure out if baby Shalvah is included in the count.

4. I am making Groomra write the thank-yous for presents coming from relatives of his in Louisiana whom I have never met. This is making him cranky.

3. Just checked the wedding registry, and the best man and his wife got us the cute blueberry shaped casserole, which is, well, awful cute.

2. We finally got a florist on board. We don't need a ton of flowers, partly because my whole family is kind of uninterested in them, and partly because Groomra's moms are bringing leis from Hawaii for everyone. But we needed some arrangements for the table and such. And petals for the flower girl.

1. I'm marrying a man I love like crazy. Basically, that's the point of this whole exercise, right? Mazel tov and deep breaths to me.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sudanese Refugees Murdered By Egyptian Troops

Oh dear God. As if these people weren't running from enough horror, now this. (Hat tip to Meryl Yourish.)

IDF troops witnessed (and caught on tape), Egyptian soldiers firing on, and beating to death, Sudanese refugees making for the border.

I have a lot of bitter things I want to say about Egypt's military aid, and the criticism Israel has faced about non-homicidal treatment of Sudanese refugees, and the total silence about this that will follow from the American and European 'left'. (They don't deserve the title anymore.) But Meryl's said a lot of it,'s all been said a lot of times.

May God be good to those people who died out there--no one else managed to.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tsnius Tsuris

This was posted over at Jameel's. This was posted in some Jerusalem neighborhood, and as you can see, it's been modified by some sweet neshomeh with a marker, changing the message from "Please Do Not Pass Through Our Neighborhood in Immodest Clothes" to the much more welcoming "Please Do Pass Through Our Neighborhood In Modest Clothes".

Personally, I think this is a great improvement, and very cute. However, I am going to comment briefly on the nature of tsnius tsuris:

When issues of modesty are brought up in the Judeoblogosphere, it is not uncommon for folks to insist that the rising obsession with modesty in the haredi world is not oppressive to women, and is not aimed at women. Religious men, they point out, also wear head-to-toe clothes.

So they do. But the difference is here, where the warning to the immodest is to women and girls only, where modest clothes are defined as women's clothes. Men with tight pants and open collars are apparently being given a pass here. There are a lot of reasons for this--some halachic, some just plain sexist. But targeted at women, most certainly.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I Hate Job-Hunting

OK, update on the job I am waiting to hear about: yesterday I called to check in with their process around one--I am not trying to be a nagging Ninotchka here, I just happened to recall from the interview that they wanted people to start TODAY, so it seemed prudent to check to see if I was being hired.

The very pleasant, distracted man who is the principal, told me that he was calling references for a number of candidates and I was one of them. He will call me, perhaps today (yesterday), or tomorrow. (Today).


In about fifteen minutes I need to start getting ready for ANOTHER job interview, this one in Berkeley.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I hate job hunting. I hate the weird questions. I hate finding new places while wearing pantyhose. I hate the hope, the calls, the sickening disappointment when you don't get a job that sounded nice.

I also hate financial stress.

And I am finding it very hard to focus on wedding details while also job hunting.


In other news, I just got another call from a local Jewish agency, who I called some months ago with a request for help finding a rabbi to officiate at the wedding. They gave me some references, and I went my way. Twice now, they have called back to tell me that they have a NEW message on their machine, from me, giving my number and asking for help finding a rabbi to perform the wedding. I feel vaguely guilty about this, but have no idea what's going on. Is it possible that the original message is somehow resending itself?