Rabbi Adar wished us all a Rosh Chodesh Sivan the other day, and asked us what our Sivan was going to look like this year.
Well, I have grades to file this week and an online intersession class to teach through the end of June, so I’m still going to have regular work to do. In terms of leisure, I’m also going to be at West Hollywood Pride next weekend and at a couple of events for my medieval recreation group, including a heralds’ conference in Las Vegas, mid-month. Professionally, I also have research to work on – interviews with college athletes for a paper that a friend of mine and I are presenting in August. This means that most of my Sivan will be dedicated to learning and studying – which is what I love, anyway. I plan to get better about my morning prayer practices (I’m still hit-and-miss) and once that’s an established habit, I’ll move into weekly Torah study. Eventually I’d like to start studying Talmud, too, but I’m not there yet. One step at a time, right?
I am excited this week as my Jewish best friend is taking me to the Fairfax district in Los Angeles on Friday, and I am going to get my first kippah and my first Mogen David. There’s one I’d really like to get later (it’s the Mogen David inside a ring that is engraved with the Sh’ma), but for now I’ll look for something relatively understated.
I’m beginning to feel the rhythm of Jewish practice and the Jewish year. Already it’s important to me to observe Shabbat prayers on Friday nights, and to take it easy on myself on Saturday, with some attention paid to prayer and study. I plan to get my grading done today and tomorrow so that I can keep up on the intersession course each day from now on, instead of having myself piled-on at the end of the semester or week. I have to find a way to remember to say the brachot before I start eating, though. Usually I remember about halfway through the meal. Oops.
I don’t know what, if anything, I can do for Shavuot besides attend services on Wednesday and Thursday morning, but I will do at least that much. The traditional dairy-only meals may be damaging to my blood sugar, so I don’t think I can do that (but eggs and cheese might be a possible workaround – we’ll see), but since it’s a minhag rather than a mitzvah, I will try not to feel guilty about it if I can’t do it. Edited to add: It looks like challah is also a traditional Shavuot food, so I suppose I’ll be baking on Tuesday if the small mold and the new whisks get here soon enough.
I’m also out of town twice this month on Shabbat, so I will simply have a quiet prayer time for myself and not let myself worry about doing everything exactly right.
4 responses to “What are you doing this Sivan?”
One of the most important mitzvot (commandments) is that of caring for our health. As important as the Yom Kippur fast is, those for whom a fast is medically unwise are forbidden to fast. So take care of yourself on the holidays – traditional foods are rarely a true requirement, and even in those cases, caring for health trumps the food tradition.
Have a great Sivan!
I am also in the process of converting to Reform Judaism. I read your about page and I think you are right, there are not enough resources for the LGBT community. I think you are doing a great thing by starting this blog.
Above, in the post, you stated, “once that’s an established habit, I’ll move into weekly Torah study.” By that I am assuming you mean the Torah portion. I am still learning the all the different prayers (I have a good sidur and recently found a serious of lectures on those prayers that helped) but I have the Torah portion down. It really only takes me about 15 minutes. I often read online following the links from http://www.hebcal.com/sedrot/ which includes links to the Torah portion as well as the Haftarah. When I don’t read online I read from my Jewish Study Bible (Oxford Press, JPS Tanakh translation) which includes really helpful footnotes. I am a stickler about footnotes, before I began the conversion process I had many bibles with footnotes but the Jewish Study Bible is very good and makes learning very easy.
But when I am having busy weeks I just read online following the links from http://www.hebcal.com/sedrot/
Are you familiar with http://www.blackgayjewish.com/ ?
Thank you for the compliment, and for the pointers for both those sites, and yes, I’m talking about the weekly Torah portion. (Are you familiar with http://www.ChicagoCarless.com?)
I still need to get a siddur, but it needs to be large-print; I can’t make out the nikkudim in the one I looked at last week. I appreciate the link to the online siddur.
No, I’m not familiar with that site but I will definitely check it out.
I did want to point you to a few Jewish LGBT groups in case you are not already familiar with them.
You can find them all on twitter as well. There is a rather large Jewish LGBT community on twitter. I’m not gay but I am a strong advocate. 🙂