Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Everything Else vs. Money

My second job is at a HEBREW rare books library. Meaning that the books there are (mostly) כלי קודש. It's wonderful.

I am able to open a ספר and see the writing of someone who labored tirelessly over holy words to understand them, and then marked down his own הארות for posterity. (Interesting, isn't it, how the word הארות comes from להאיר, literally "to enlighten"? :) )

I open for the first time in 50 years the cracked pages of an ancient מחזור with the names of those for whom the owner would say Yartzeit written on the inside flap.

With chilling comprehension, I see the stamp of the Nazi Archives, marking a book to go to the museum for "those lost people, the Jews, who used to blight the world." And yet many of the books have been returned to their rightful owners, who outlived the evil ones. Many of the owners, however, could not be found. The books were then shipped to libraries across the world, where they could be accessed by the descendants of their former owners.

I wish I knew more Yiddish, German, Italian, and how to read music (those are the languages I've come across so far-aside from Hebrew, 'course). I found a book about an inch thick, filled with handwritten notes to songs that won't be played. I wish I could write them down and play them at home, learn them, and teach them for others.

It's with these books that I'm working now. On my volunteer time. And I love it.
This is Reality. This is Truth. This is not comparable to someone's twisted idea of "art," this is the truth about life! I feel like I know so little, and yet CAN learn so much. Cause it's just...right.

Money vs. Everything Else

...or "How I wish I didn't need money so I could drop my paying job and do my volunteer work full-time"

I shouldn't complain. I'm not really, in fact. It's just that the diference is sooo clear. Let's back up a bit. I have two summer jobs, each two days a week. They're both in rare book libraries (Yes, a rare book library is different than an archive. An archive collects data. Could be anything-like how much the company earned this year, or what courses a university offers. A rare book library has rare books.), and I'm enjoying both of them. They're just....different.

One's at a university. They have a large photography collection, lots of old photographs, which is very cool. Not my particular interest, but very inerestin'. Especially interesting are the ones from during an important event in history (like a world war) that shows the event as the people saw it THEN, rather than as we see it through the 20/20 vision of history.

Another interesting thing about working with the photographs (they're from a newspaper collection) is how media distorts. The photographs have coloring all over them-blacking things out, drawing things in, emphasizing little and unimportant things...and thereby telling a completely different story than what had originally been there.

But there are the disturbing parts also. There was a lecture given about Ethics and Photography. Their conclusion? You can take a photograph of anything, yes, anything, and that's wonderful, because it's art, so it's beautiful. Essentially (and I'm paraphrasing the speaker), ethics are different with every person, and so there basically are no ethics. My conclusion? אם אין תורה אין דרך ארץ.

What was even more disturbing was that he told me afterwards that he's always worried about giving this speech, cause sometimes there're really religious people that take offense at it. Hello!! I'm offended!!

What was more disturbing than that was when he asked me to file the extremely graphic photos that he'd used for the lecture. I'm disturbed. Very very disturbed.

On the other hand, there's my other job :)

P.S. Has anyone ever flown international on Priceline before?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Emotional Overflow #2: Thank You!!

I realized that I've been living a charmed life. No, not a charmed life, a siyata dishmaya life. As I get older and learn more about the world, I realize it more and more. I'm shocked by things I read. About family situations. About abuse. About lack of love. About lack of understanding. Things that many many people, rachmana litzlan, have been touched by.

So I wanted to publicly announce thanks to Hashem. 'Cause he runs my life, and whatever He does, he does perfectly. Of course!! There's an incredible weight that lifts from your shoulders when you realize that things that happen to you are from Him, and therefore are by definition good...even if sometimes it's harder to see than other times. You make your Papa happy, and He takes care of you! And even when you do bad, He's there, waiting, still doing good for you. And He loves you. And me. :)

(No, that still doesn't negate EO #1-cause we want to make Him HAPPY!! Seeing His children fight doesn't do that...:( )

Emotional Overflow #1: It's OUR Land!!

Lately, I've been feeling two opposite emotions really really strongly. I'm putting them in two seperate posts, 'cause they're really almost opposites, and I'm putting the positive one second, 'cause I want that to be on the top of my blog.

Here goes:

The whole disengagement thing. It makes me angry, it makes me frustrated, it makes me scared. I have family that lives in Eretz Yisroel, where we're all supposed to be, and I want to be there IY"H one day soon. But will it be there by the time I get there? They're giving away one peice of land after another, on the assumption that it will bring peace. ( know what assuming does...oh, never mind...) You can't have peace with someone that wants only to kill you and your people. Past circumstances have proved this, but it's all being ignored. Giving people that hate you the land next door to you is not a good idea, giving the people that hate you your brother's land and telling him to beat it is positively stupid!!

Which leads me to another rant...and I feel quite strongly about this-if we would make an attempt to get along with each other, I really really believe that things will improve. It's like Hashem is saying "You can't live together in My land? Then leave!" And it doesn't apply only to the charedim vs. chilonim. It has to do with US-wherever we are, in whatever countries. Just because your next-door neighbor is Modern Orthodox, or Chasidish, or Yeshivish or whatever doesn't mean that you have the right to mock him, his customs, and his way of life. Those of us who are following the Torah should work on following the Torah better, to the best of our ability-'cause THAT'S what we're here for-to serve Hashem!! Not to prove that our way is better!! So could we maybe maybe maybe try to get along?

We all need Moshiach sooooo badly. And the fastest way for him to come is to show Hashem that we're ready. I don't have the words to it now, but I once read a poem about Moshiach coming. He goes to a whole bunch of shuls, where they tell him that he can't be Moshiach, 'cause he's not wearing a black yarmulka/knitted yarmulka/black hat/streimel, etc. So he says "never mind", and leaves. Are we doing that??? Are we making an effort not to do that? Are we making an effort to make a Kiddush Hashem in the world? Or are we airing our dirty laundry where everyone can see it?

(No, I don't think the first and second rants contradict each other. I don't HATE the people who are arranging the disengagement. I think that they have preconcieved notions about the people they're kicking out and don't feel like they're brothers, and that's why they think it's okay!! If we'd attempt to show them Torah and the whole concept that places like Kever Rochel are HOLY and should not be given to the people who destroyed Kever Yosef, maybe thing'd be different...)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Yiddish, anyone? OR Yay Mindy!

I was wondering if there's anyone who could help me. I'm translating something from Yiddish for my work, but there's a minor problem. I don't speak all :/ B"H, my father does, and he's helping me with it, but there were still a few words that we couldn't get. How many do you know?

ערן וועד

Edit: I've got 'em all, thanks to Mindy-see, that chasidish education is definately worthwhile! ;)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Desiring to Desire vs. Longing for the Longing

In this past week's parsha, in the description of the the complaints of the Eirav Rav, the pasuk uses a very interesting double lashon. Loosely translated, the phrase used means "and they desired." It continues on to discuss how they complained because they weren't getting meat in the desert.

If translated literally, however, the phrase means "and they desired desire." What does this mean?

1. The mon was purely spiritual. As such, it elicited no forbidden ta'avos within the people. The particular people who were complaining literally wanted "desire," those forbidden ta'avos that come with eating the same physical nourishment that animals do.

2. The people wanted to find something to complain about. So they worked themselves up, searching for something that they could twist to their purposes. They discovered a few things lacking from the otherwise endless choices in the mom, and grabbed that as their excuse to complain. They tried to build in themselves a desire to do bad, and succeeded.

It just struck me, cause I find myself doing that sometimes. There're times when I don't really care either way about doing something, but I want to want to do it, so I work myself into it. For bad things AND for good things.

Think about it. The next time you're ambivalent about something, consider: Is it something you just want to create a ta'ava for? Or is it something that you want to build a ratzon for within yourself, because it coincides with the Ultimate Ratzon....?

There's a stone in the place where my heart used to be
And I'm longing for the longing once again
There's a small subtle trace of my sincerity
And it only comes to taunt me now and then...

Gut voch and shavua tov.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

My job(s)

Very cool!! I'm working in two rare books libraries-one volunteer, one paid. I've only started the paid one, but just being in the environment is awesome!! Lots 'n lots of really old stuff, artifacts, letters, stuff like that. Nothing Jewish (that's what the volunteer one is for), but still pretty exciting.

I said nothing Jewish, but I managed to find something ;) One of the archivists is writing a book, and asked me to translate something for him for the book (= credit line for me when it's published! :) ). He thought it was Hebrew, turns out it's I'm sorta learning Yiddish on the spot so I can do this. It's one of the five or so languages (including Arabic, French, German...) that I'm gonna need to know anyway, so better start early!

B"H. It was a good week. Even when it didn't seem that way. :)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Cheap Flights to London?

Anyone? I have a wedding in July that I would really really really love to attend...but I can't afford more than $600 on a ticket right now...and Czech Air is not an option ;)
Any ideas?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Lessons from my past?

So I've gotten through all my notes from high school, and I'm up to seminary. In fact, I have been up to them for the past two weeks or so...but I'm afraid to review them. I'm not where I was, and I don't like it, but apparantly it's not affecting me enough to change myself...

It's a yucky day.

(Although...I got a job today in the Rare Books Library!! ;) There's always something good...and yes, I know y'all are soooooo jealous...)


What happened to the little girl
Who dreamed a thousand dreams she didn't keep?
Who woke up in the middle of a nightmare,
She was drowning in her sleep.
She had sold her dreams for cheap.
And as I cry all alone
Inside a frenzy of struggle and pain I would scream
PLEASE let me dream again (dream again..)
Please fill me with dreams once again,
And the strength to change...

-Big Dreams, Julia Blum

Saturday, June 04, 2005

ברכת המדינה vs. קריאת התורה?

Bracing self, taking a deep breath, preparing for all the attacks...

I go to shul pretty regularly, especially since I restarted my Shabbos morning chavrusa. Something's been bothering me a lot, and since this can be a venting ground for me, here goes:

I don't have a problem with the ברכת המדינה per se. I think it's a wonderful thing and that we should daven for ארץ ישראל and our people. What gets me frustrated is the lack of consistancy involved with it.

We usually have a תפילה for חולים during שביעי. In general, during קריאת התורה, there is always a bit of talking (only on the men's side in my shul, which I find rather fascinating...), but it usually ends at ברכו, when everyone does their quick shifting in their seats to complete the ברכה. The תפילה for חולים, however, seems to become free-for-all talking time.

During the Haftorah, however, it's different. Then, apparantly the need to talk is too great, and is so important, that many of the men actually leave the sanctuary to go and discuss their very important matters in the hallway.
Also inerestin.'

After all the laining is the ברכת המדינה et al. Suddenly everyone is back, standing, alert, quiet, and at attention. That's pretty incredible. The תפילה for חולים is not that important, the Haftorah is not that important, but suddenly this new תפילה, which has been introduced fairly recently and is fairly controversial, is more important even than the תורה and the words of the נביאים?

Again, I have nothing against the actual תפילה. It's just the hypocracy that goes along with it that frustrates me.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A message to all you theatre people (I know you're there...)

I've been getting a lot of hits recently from searches for things like "Julia Blum", "Shomer Shabbos Theatre", "frum acting", etc. I'm not sure exactly how BlogPatrol works-if it just shows me when Frumactress has been clicked on in a Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc. search, or if it shows that I've been linked just when someone searches for the terms-whether they click on the site or not.

Either way, if you are there, EMAIL ME!! Frumactress at gmail....'cause I knew I'm not the only person out there who needs to act, and all you searchers confirmed it, and it's really hard to start a theatre program for frum girls on my please? I'd love to talk to you!!