Thursday, June 05, 2003

Interesting discussions, both of you. (For fascinating thoughts on women's education in Iran, I direct you to Azar Nafizi's fabulous new book Reading Lolita in Tehran.)

I don't have time to put in my own five cents (inflation!) right now. I am departing to celebrate the little-known but quite important Jewish holiday of Shavuot. The holiday marks the giving of the Torah (Jewish Bible) to the Jewish people. As the Torah is one of the greatest signs of the love between G-d and the children of Israel, the holiday marking its presentation is quite a mystical occasion. Some Jews choose to stay up all night on the first night waiting for the sky to open and miracles to happen, rather in the vein of that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In fact, I will be staying up all night tonight among forty other people at my best friend's house, although no miracles have occurred in my prior attempts at the vigil. We will study the sacred texts of Torah and Talmud, and at around four am, we will all lose focus and start playing silly board games. As soon as it is late enough to recite morning prayers (maybe 5:30 or 6? I don't have the exact time), we will pray together, and when the service is complete at 7 or 8, we will flop gratefully on our respective beds and sections of floor.

Some Christians I was talking to were quite surprised that there is no fast associated with this vigil; rather, we drink Mountain Dew and eat potato chips and cheesecake through the night. This may be why I never managed to see visions. Fasting usually helps.

In any case, I'll be back to blog again by Sunday. If I see G-d, I'll let you know.


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