Jewish groups and Darfur
Ways of reading scripture

What I've been up to

Last week I spent three days on Nantucket, and Thursday it was warm enough to swim. I waded out to where the water was chest-high, then breaststroked into the waves, staying in one place and savoring the sun and the salt and the water under my feet. I said a silent shehecheyanu for being in the ocean again, for the first time in at least a year.

Yesterday I led services again. I was short on sleep (we came home from the Cape via New Haven, where we took in a Mission of Burma gig which was fantastic fun and also quite shehecheyanu-worthy but ran a little on the late side) but the adrenaline of leading services kept me plugged-in all morning. My morning-blessing practice didn't go over quite as well this week (there were several visitors and infrequent attendees there, and I think the atmosphere of trust wasn't quite strong enough for everyone to feel comfortable making themselves vulnerable by offering their own blessings) but reading Torah was fun, again, and it's a pleasure to feel competent with the Shabbat morning service.

We had an interesting discussion about the cities of refuge mandated for those who commit inadvertent manslaughter (parashat Matot-Masei), too. I brought some commentaries to spur discussion, including the last two paragraphs of this Roberto Graetz commentary (I like the notion that the six words of the shema can serve as our own six cities of refuge in the modern age).

Our third Torah reader was a college student, visiting our shul for the first time (related to one of our members, which is how he wound up on our Torah reading roster). He was the only reader who chanted (the other two of us just read), but he has a lovely voice, and it made me want to learn the trup (cantillation markings) so I can chant Torah again someday. I'll add that to my list of projects to undertake once the High Holidays are over...