A Quick Update

Just a quick note. I was out of town all last week for rabbi school, so attention to that (a full week of work on counseling and guidance–what is often called “pastoral care”) took precedence to trawling the Intarwebzes looking for eyes in which to poke my finger (all for your amusement, of course). I’m sure I’ll be back to that soon enough–but there’s work to be done for four classes, a wedding I’ll be co-officiating (my first!), and a series of talks on modern American Jews I’ll be giving at a local Catholic parish in October and November that will require no small amount of preparation.

While there are so many things I would love to comment on, professional ethical responsibilities preclude some; time precludes the rest. So it may be quiet around here again for a bit. I’m sure I’ll be back with something in the next two weeks–quite likely tied to the counseling class’s material, as there’s fodder there for a blog post or two.

But not tonight.

P.S. – Many thanks to Mrs. Secular Jew, who diligently and lovingly held down the homefront and watched after Secular Jew, Jr., whilst I developed the ability to be less of a logic-dominated automaton when interacting with people. I love you!

All Quiet on the Western Front

I’ve been a bit silent over here. I’m still lurking about; just busy reading for rabbi school, doing research for papers for rabbi school, looking over edits for a book review, and various other things. I’m sure I’ll pop in with something substantive here any day now; there are a lot of thoughts floating about in my head, but there remains some organization to do (and some sleep to get).

And on Israel, as I’ve said, I’m remaining silent. My concerns remain, for the moment, tied to the sheer level of human wreckage–death, destruction, and physical and emotional trauma. I’ll say no more beyond that.

Menachem Av to those for whom it is meaningful.

Of Pills and Panic

It’s astonishing just how finely tuned our brains are–and how small changes in what goes into our brains can change so much about how and who we are.

Back in late April and much of May, Secular Jew, Jr. (“SJJ”) was hospitalized twice in pediatric “stress center” units. “Stress center” is the euphemism du jour for temporary place to put people with acute psychiatric symptoms that cannot be managed at home and that may be resolvable without permanent institutionalization, usually due to substance abuse or severe depression. SJJ is not yet even a preteen, and most of the kids in these units were teenagers, so these were really very extreme places for SJJ to be. But after two stays, in the course of less than a month, the issues SJJ was experiencing seem to have boiled down to medication issues; medications were removed, SJJ stabilized, and things seemed pretty okay.

Until yesterday. Continue reading

Oops!

(Warning: juvenile humor)

So, Mrs. Secular Jew let me know that a video link I posted in a prior blog post was to a…um…”choice” video. Not what I thought it was. It’s been deleted from that post.

So, if you got the email version of the post, and you watched it without the warning, sorry.

If you didn’t, well…here it is. It’s juvenile, but I just can’t help myself.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h7l8rWfLAus

Honey Letters

“Chocolate cookies?”
(He asks)
“They have white inside.”
(They do)

There’s a Christmas book on the table.
(From school)
“Read a sentence and I’ll give you a cookie.”
(He reads)
“Okay, here you go. Good reading!”
“Yummy!”

I think about years past.
(Honey letters)
In Eastern European cheders.
(Old School)
When the first lesson
(aleph)
was to learn letters and lick honey
(bet)
to see that learning is sweet.
(gimel)

Back now to the computer
(YouTube)
to watch old TV ads.
“It’s Face!”

We’re still learning to teach.
“Veggie Tales!”
Some sugar and a film.
“Little Joe!”
Is this our modern Torah?
“Nick Jr.!”

Hyperallergenic

So, I’ve been a bit lax in posting recently. In part, I’ve been busy with various other things–Passover, classwork, grading student papers, working, parenting, etc. But in part, my podcast consumption has been down. I usually find something of interest in podcasts, but I just wasn’t listening to them as often because, during the winter, it can be hard to concentrate on driving safely and on keeping continuity of attention on the podcast. With winter mostly over, though, I’ve got a bit more mental bandwidth during commutes, and podcasts are coming back into the listening diet.

I subscribe to a number of podcasts–lots of New Books Network podcasts, some Jewish-oriented ones, some humanism-oriented ones. I try to enjoy what I find, but in the humanist-oriented podcasts, especially, I find this difficult because much of it is shrill and self-congratulatory.

Continue reading

Google and Golems

Over the weekend, the blog was (compared to its usual volume) kind of hammered by traffic. By this I mean page hits in the lower 20s when there wasn’t a link from an SHJ email or Facebook post. (I’m not complaining about overall volume; but I’m a numbers geek, so I know what’s “normal” traffic and what’s not.)

A large number of these hits were from a single visitor, who I think was trying to do a school project. Continue reading