High Holidays

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 08:11 am
chanaleh: (leaves)
My two favorite friends from synagogue are MH, the president, and EHF (hereinafter SCO#4), the chair of the ritual committee. Between them, they have been talking to me for ages (since I was pregnant with Aria; possibly even before that) about training me up to lead High Holiday services.

notes from the life of an amateur cantorial soloist )

I figure, if I memorized the entire Hamilton soundtrack in less than 2 months, I can do this. It's just Shacharit, right? Right? #17tammuz #tishreiiscoming
chanaleh: (Default)
Apparently it usually does take me 3 weeks to get this posted, but down the line I won't care how belated it was, so here it is. :-)

10 goals from 2016 )

more things that happened in 2016 )

10 goals for 2017 )

Tisha B'Av

Sunday, August 14th, 2016 01:23 pm
chanaleh: (sleeping)
The 10th of Av is Aria's Hebrew birthday. Last year, like this year, it was the observed date of the fast of Tisha B'Av since the actual 9th of Av fell on Shabbat. Last year I missed the candlelight reading of Eicha because I was at the hospital in hour 17 or so of "early" labor. (I was reliving my own version of Lamentations though.) Last night I missed it because it was competing with baby bathtime/bedtime and I just couldn't face the logistics of driving 40 minutes each way to shul and back. But it's still on my mind.

I'm not fasting, either, to be honest. I thought about trying, but my brain is so foggy already these days that I just can't face spending a day in the fasting zone. I need to be able to do things.

Wishing a meaningful fast to those who are observing, though.
chanaleh: (crow's nest)
This one goes to eleven!

Ten Eleven things I did in 2015:
Have A Baby is highest on the list, but not the only thing! )

Ten Eleven things I would like to do in 2016:
each of which could probably make for a whole entry by itself )
chanaleh: (breathe)
I beg you all will pardon the somewhat rambly nature of this rundown:

- Remembered to call my mom and check in. She had knee surgery a few weeks ago (she'd had both hips replaced previously, but this is her first knee operation). Then, while recovering (somewhat poorly, it turns out) at home, she fell and smacked her head on the bathtub (!), and thus got admitted to the rehab hospital for several days after all. Now she's back at home and doing better. We are playing a lot of Facebook Scrabble.

- Made a couple different loaves of bread in the bread machine, and also Cheesecake Brownies which may be the new favorite thing around here. Recipes to come later. (Like, when it is done being a fast day OMG.)

- Done a bunch of website work on two different freelance projects. It's remarkably enjoyable. One because it's actually fun, and one because I am charging them hourly so even when it's tedious I feel like it is worth my time...!

- Done a bunch of updating on my own design portfolio website, with more to come.

- Played my first official gig with [livejournal.com profile] etrace on Saturday night: mostly our usual band, except that we were backing a local guy with an Elvis tribute act. (I sang backup vocals. Which I don't think of as a major feature of an Elvis act, and they hadn't either, until their first rehearsal, which [livejournal.com profile] etrace went to without me, then came home and said "We need you!" Turned out to be surprisingly important on a bunch of the songs.) It was for a private birthday party, so just an hour-long set, but it was fun. And if we do more gigs with this guy, I will also get paid, not just [livejournal.com profile] etrace. :-)

- Observed my little brother's 40th birthday on Sunday. 40! (By "observed" I mean "forgot to mail his card until the day before, so it would be late as usual, and then thought all day about texting him but never when the phone was at hand, so that didn't happen until the next day either". But it sounds like he had a good time anyway.)

- Finished rereading Book 2 and watching Season 2 of Game of Thrones, and begun rereading Book 3 and watching Season 3. a little nattering, nothing spoilery, I think )

- Attended the Eicha reading (that is, the Book of Lamentations, for Tisha B'Av) last night at my new synagogue in Munster. [livejournal.com profile] etrace regretfully stayed home because his back was hurting and I was afraid we'd be sitting on the floor the whole time (turned out more than half the group sat in their regular chairs, though). But I walked in and several people immediately went "HEY GREAT TO SEE YOU WELCOME BACK", which was nice. And the reading was good, though it also made me miss the [livejournal.com profile] tremontstshul experience, squeezing 80 people into the basement vestry with dripping wax candles and no air conditioning and several of my favorite people doing the readings. Also, here they did the whole book in the same standard Eicha trope instead of doing chapter 3 to its own trope. I take this as a sign that I am supposed to learn it for next year the way I want to hear it done. Y'know.

- Opened an Etsy shop for my Judaica prints. :-} This is basically a retread of the items for sale on my own Judaica page, but I thought it would be interesting to experiment with the Etsy marketplace. Worst case, I won't sell anything between now and December (when the listings expire) and I will pull everything down. Yes, I know I would benefit from having actual photographs of the framed pieces -- planning to work on that in the coming weeks. It'd be nice to do some actual new pieces, of course, too.


OK, gonna go count down to dinner now. "Sunset" is reportedly at 8:01pm here; that's the guideline to use, right? Or is it "full dark"? I can't find the fast times for this region listed anywhere, only the Shabbat times.
chanaleh: (Default)
Posting this on Monday morning (Labor Day, 9/2), but backdating to last night for consistency. :-) I am late because I was away at the Victorian Lyric Opera Co.'s 5th Great Gilbert & Sullivan Sing-Out in Rockville, MD, where I had a smashing time and whence I got back late Sunday night. Sorry that I wasn't foresightful enough to stay over an extra night and visit any of my other awesome DC/MD peeps... I do miss you, and would love to come another time soon, but I also am SO GLAD to be at home with a leisurely day today. :-}

Anyway. Let the Month of Yontifs begin! )
chanaleh: (leila)
Bamidbar was actually last week's Torah portion, not today's, but this is a theme that's been much on my mind the past couple weeks, and then it was borne out further as follows:

This week, I actually managed to drag myself to shul for the 2nd morning of Shavuot. This was a bonus in a couple of ways: reading the Book of Ruth, and also they happened (presumably due to Yizkor) to be doing ASL interpretation during services that day, and I always find that fun and interesting (apart from having a mild crush on the guy who runs the program, but anyway).

In the rabbi's sermon, he started off asking: Why did the b'nei yisrael have to go to the wilderness in order to receive the Torah? What is the connection between wilderness and revelation? And he brought in a concept from the Midrash, which connects it to the notion of hefker, which is a Talmudic technical term meaning "ownerless", denoting a thing that is up for grabs -- like an item of lost or abandoned property, or like the dust of the earth. And apparently the Midrash says "Anyone who does not make himself hefker [open to all] like a wilderness cannot acquire wisdom and Torah." (Bemidbar Rabbah 1:7) You have to go into the wilderness, unmoor yourself, in order to become vulnerable to the wide spectrum of possibility... to make room for the revelation.

... And that's exactly what I have been feeling the last week and a half. Ownerless. But strangely liberated. Like there are suddenly a hundred possible paths, all of which will lead to good things. Expansive. Sometimes hit with torrents of feeling, yes... but mostly, fundamentally, at peace.

So yeah, it was one of those laser-targeted moments. You know it's reached me when I am sitting there in shul with tears streaming down my face... and in a cleansing way, not a bitter way. Somehow Rabbi Sebert manages to do that to me a lot.

After the service, I saw my friend C (the one who is [livejournal.com profile] justom's family friend and brought me there in the first place), and when she said "How are you?" I said, "Hefker." It took a minute to get the point across ("Wait, you didn't lose your job?" "No..."), but she got it. And that was helpful too.

Also, to answer the #1 FAQ, yes, I am staying in NYC for at least the next several months. )

Meanwhile, I signed up for a six-week Russian class, Tuesday nights starting June 4. And I'm also planning to try to make contra dancing tonight. (Though of course, I still haven't managed to see Iron Man 3 either. Sigh!)


ETA, 6/27/2013: In thematically related news, this article (which I first saw closer to its original post date, at which time it was at least equally relevant) just floated back up to the top of my Facebook feed, h/t [livejournal.com profile] shadesong. Yeah. This. Also.

*pant* *pant*

Thursday, March 14th, 2013 12:19 am
chanaleh: (breathe)
It's continuing to be a month. Here's what's doing:

Book project is close, oh so close, to being done. Finally finished the text file last Thursday and shipped it to the printer... aaand, developments over the ensuing several days are resulting in the distinct possibility that we will switch printers (but still have the original place do the case binding, which is the main thing I really need them for, because hardly anyone does ultra-short-run case binding for a reasonable price). Really hoping that this will get settled in the next day or two, that I'll send the finalized cover files on Monday, and that it will be mostly out of my hands after that (the author will do the proof review).

Blue Hill Troupe's spring show program (which is essentially also a 144-page book) is in fact at the printers! Text and cover proofs are coming Friday, but I won't be looking at those either, as I'll be at Lunacon. But I'll be on call to make any changes or replacement pages they need to send back, so if you see me sitting at the MuffinButtons table with a big laptop out, that's probably why.

I got a reasonable tax refund, which among other things will... cover the gum surgery I'm scheduled to have a week from Friday. :-P

Yesterday was Rosh Chodesh Nisan, and my synagogue organized a special minyan (ETA: video coverage from JTA! and articles in the Forward and the Daily Beast...) in solidarity with the Women of the Wall, which is a group of women in Jerusalem who hold a morning prayer service at the Kotel (Western Wall) each month on Rosh Chodesh -- and because they pray wearing tallit and tefillin, it offends the ultra-Orthodox establishment, so they keep getting arrested. Our minyan was supposed to be held in Union Square Park, but because of the rain, we had it in the sanctuary at T&V after all. I didn't stay long enough to hear any actual rallying speeches or anything, just through Hallel and then I had to scoot out to work. But the really awesome thing is that, as it later transpired, the Women of the Wall had invited three female Members of Knesset to join them at the Kotel that morning -- so they brought their diplomatic immunity and NOBODY got arrested, for a nice change.

And this morning, I successfully unlocked an achievement that was 6 to (technically) 18 months overdue: transferred my Massachusetts driver's license to New York State. (I tried to do this back in October when the MA one expired -- on my 40th birthday -- but come to find out, NYS requires you to present a Social Security card in order to transfer an out-of-state-license. No discussion, no exceptions. I hadn't had a copy of my Social Security card since, like, applying for my first passport in high school... so I had to get a new copy of that first, and, well, delays. But now I have all the things!)

And [livejournal.com profile] justom's show opened last week, so paradoxically, he's been home more and earlier in the evenings, and things have been quite mellow and pleasant. I get to go on Sunday night (directly on unloading from Lunacon).

Oh, and, lest I forget: I am suddenly this week also working on a ketubah for [livejournal.com profile] sanpaku and [livejournal.com profile] gansje, and I just sent them a draft, so now I can finish this entry and go to bed. :-)

Choir

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 12:14 am
chanaleh: (leaves)
I'm joining the synagogue choir at Town & Village this year, and the first rehearsal was tonight! It was great.

I went there for Day 1 of Rosh Hashanah last year (diligent readers may recall that [livejournal.com profile] justom has close family friends who belong there and invited me/us). And in addition to really liking the service and the rabbi (who later, in a classic "small Jewish world" moment, turned out to be a childhood buddy of SCO#1, but that's another story), I actually really enjoyed the cantor and the choir. Which is a big thing for me because I normally am turned off -- almost by definition -- by anyplace that has a cantor, let alone a choir. But this cantor was a terrific young(ish... younger than me, anyway!) woman with great kavannah and an amazing voice that just, I don't know, fits really well with my personal davening style. And the choir was a lay choir performing from the bima (no microphones, no instruments) for just a few selected sections of the liturgy... which, not for nothing, happened to include two or three of my favoritest pieces from my own longstanding High Holiday choir gig back in Boston.

Sidebar on my High Holiday choir history )

And we did one in that category right away tonight: Samuel Naumbourg's "Ana Tavo" (a.k.a. Ono Tovo) -- though I don't know if I'd have heard it there on Rosh Hashanah, because it's particular to Yom Kippur, the introduction to the Vidui, or confessional.
Ana tavo l’fanecha t’filateinu v’al titalam mi-t’chinateinu, she’eyn anachnu azei fanim u-k’shei oref lomar l’fanecha, "Adonai Eloheinu v'elohei avoteinu, tzadikim anachnu v’lo chatanu" -- aval anachnu chatanu.

Let our prayer come before you, and do not turn from our pleas. We are neither so arrogant nor so stubborn as to say to Your face, "Lord our God and God of our fathers, we are righteous and have not sinned" -- rather, we have sinned.

It's a poignant little passage that often gets zoomed past on the way to the Vidui, and the musical setting here lends all the more poignancy to the text. I'd link to it for you all if I could find a sample. Maybe Cantor Shayna will send me the MP3.

(Or, y'know, if anyone needs a place to go for holidays, you could come and hear it.)
chanaleh: (sleeping)
[livejournal.com profile] justom has been in Boston since Thursday, for various social purposes. I often get weepy/clingy when he's going away, but I managed to not fall into that too much this time, just sort of noted it as a thing taking place in my heart, acknowledged it and moved on. And indeed I had a lot of fun things lined up to do and was (of course) perfectly fine on my own. It's even been a bit of a treat to indulge my inner slob for a couple days: unmade bed, two days' worth of dishes lounging defiantly in the sink. But it's equally a treat to get up earlyish and start puttering about to turn it around: make the bed, sort the mail, take out the trash, do the dishes, start some cooking. Indulging my inner domestic.

Friday night I went to the 20s&30s Shabbat dinner at Town & Village, of which I've gone to 1 or 2 previous ones and always have a nice time -- the services are perfect for my taste, and at the cocktail hour, I seem to manage to home right in on the geeky people so as to have someone good to sit with at the dinner. :-) The only drawback was that their social hall is very acoustically live and thus MUCH TOO LOUD for the conversations I could otherwise have been having. Alas.

But, they also have a couple of people (one guy, one girl) who got up and announced that they're gearing up to launch a 30s&40s group -- NExT, anyone? I'd actually been worrying about this very thing, because they have a HUGE DISCLAIMER on their 20s&30s dinner signup page that says "WE WILL TURN YOU AWAY IF YOU ARE OVER 39 KTHX" which means there's about zero to one more dinners I could attend between now and October 6. (Of course then I'm also told they don't really enforce it, so whatever.) So this would be just the ticket. I cheered immediately and went up to talk to them right after. "Great!" they said. "Do you want to co-chair with us?" "Ummm....!" I said I wasn't sure about co-chairing but I would be glad to join the committee and help make things happen. You can all stop laughing now about how I can't stay away from synagogue organizing.

Amusingly, it also turned out that the woman (Abby, who is adorable) works in admissions for JTS and was very keen to have me come in to chat about that. We'll see. I expect we'll have lots of time to talk in the future.

Oh, and I'm going to join the T&V synagogue choir, which starts its rehearsal season August 7. The cantor (who is wonderful, and not at all "cantory" in the way I dislike, but a real shlichat tzibur) started trying to recruit me the first time I showed up back at Rosh Hashanah -- when the choir was on the bimah a certain tasteful amount of the time and performed, a cappella, a couple of pieces that I already knew and loved. I'm definitely there.

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