It’s time for the Friday Feature again, where I ask you what good things happened to you this week. This is direct from Telushkin’s Book of Jewish Values, Day 69.
This is a regular Friday morning feature for this blog. Telushkin intended his book to provide topics for Shabbat discussions for at least a year, as each “week” is composed of six values (one per day) and then Shabbat, where he encourages us to talk about those values at our Shabbat dinners and services. I feel that the idea of gratitude is so central to Jewish practice that we should be reminded weekly of what we might be grateful for.
While I know that this might seem a little self-centered, I’m also doing this so that people will have some food for thought for their own Shabbat dinners about what they might be thankful for. I generally talk about the following areas of my life: work and career; family and friends; health; household; my conversion studies; miscellaneous life; and the wider world. Feel free to add or subtract as necessary for your own use.
This week, I can be thankful. In terms of work and career, my grades are filed and I’m on vacation for the next three weeks, during which time I’ll be able to set up my fall courses without too much hassle. I am presenting research at a conference in the middle of the month, which will be fun, and I’m working on my book (though not as much as I probably should be). I also got permission from a former student to use her absolutely stellar research paper as a good example for future classes. Finally, I have a job interview next Tuesday for a class or two at a new school, which will bring me up to full-time income for the fall should I get it.
Family and friends – we’ve seen friends almost every day this week, and it’s been great. We are having one friend who’s moving out of state to Shabbat dinner tonight, and I’ve got a bang-up dinner planned. We’ll have lunch with my kids tomorrow and see them for at least that time, which will be good.
In terms of health, I seem to be doing mostly okay. I’ve been pretty tired because it’s been hot and swampy here (not normal for this area) and that wears me out, as well as not letting me sleep. But otherwise, I seem to be doing okay.
We were able to get some needed things for the household when I got paid, and that was helpful. Earlier this week I rearranged the kitchen to make challah-making easier, and that’s also helped. We will be emptying out our storage unit in our old hometown this weekend, and that will also help.
My conversion studies, right now, are mainly meditation, prayer, and music. I returned the 22 books I’d checked out of the library, and I might go back and get one or two of them for a re-read, but at this point I’m sort of booked out. Part of this is due to being tired due to the weather (see above); my concentration is pretty shot. But I’m glad that I’m still learning and remembering prayers.
In the wider world… well. I wish that I had more to be thankful for there. I suppose the recent Uganda decision to invalidate the anti-gay law qualifies, but what’s going on in Israel has me in tears if I think about it too much.
What are you thankful for this week?
Shabbat shalom, and I’ll be back sometime after Shabbat is over!