Daily Dozen Gratitude List #22

11 February 2019
Daily Dozen Gratitude List #22
In no particular order:

1. Multiples of 11.
2. Chicken Soup with Rice.
The book, not the dish (tho I did like it in my meat-eating and rice-eating days). Maurice Sendak classic.
Happy once
Happy twice
Happy chicken soup with rice.
How can you not smile with such words, especially with Sendak’s delightful illustrations?
3. Snow tubing.
Skiing for couch potatoes. And specifically, snow tubing at Nashoba Valley in Westford, Mass., which has serious hills and massive numbers of lanes, unlike the wimpy bump in Vermont and the two-laned short slope in New Hampshire. They invest more in skiing in those states, I suppose. Nashoba is just fun and thrilling, especially if you go at night.
4. MyGabriel’s promotion! So proud! He’s worked hard and long and deserves it. I knew him when.
5. Chinese teaware.
Yeah, haven’t mentioned a tea-related gratitude in a few days. When I went to China last year, I stocked up on tea, and was also tempted by the hundreds of gorgeous tea sets –little little teapots with matching and small handleless cups for sipping that fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. Ultimately, I got an adorable set of pale cerulean green cups with molded koi fish at the bottom. Do I want to be looking at a fish at the bottom of my teacup while I sip? I guess I do. AND I got an oolong set of a narrow thin cup and a wider rounder cup in blue and white, plus a gaiwan (a larger vessel with a lid, which you hold with a slight opening to let the tea pour into your cup while keeping the brewing leaves in the gaiwan, also in blue and white. Gah! Stuff!
6. Sheryl Crow’s song If It Makes You Happy.”
(First two lines only.)
7. Ping Pong.
8. Sets of magic markers with lots and lots of colors.
9. The Jewish Magic in Theory and Practice class I took with Noam Sienna at the National Havurah Committee Summer Institute in 2016.
In 2015, Noam was the NHC Timbrel Artist in Residence, for his henna art. The previous two summers, I had taken the classes offered by the artists in residence, and loved them, but, really, henna? I was skeptical and scornful. Mea culpa, silly me. I met Noam on the first day of Institute. He offered to give henna tattoos to anyone who wanted them (by the end of the week it seemed 90 percent of the participants were sporting one), and I think I was the very first person he tattooed, a gorgeous Aleph for Eitan on the back of my hand. We talked while he created, and I learned so much about henna traditions and practices, and immediate regretted not signing up for his now full class.
Well, I wouldn’t make THAT mistake twice. The following summer, in 2016, Noam was offering this class on magic, and I knew it would be great. I had thought magic was strictly forbidden in Judaism, but learned there are all kinds of references to magic in the Talmud, and creating amulets is a longstanding Jewish practice – documents of calligraphy, protective vessels that get buried under the front stoop, jewelry, amulets made of stone, wood, among many other materials. On our last day, we made our own amulets. I chose a triangular rock and painted on a favorite verse. I also carry with me a rock on which Noam painted one of his gorgeous calligraphic Alephs, its own kind of amulet. Noam, who is getting his doctorate in Jewish History and Museum Studies, has a book coming out this Friday, A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts From the First Century to 1969. Can’t wait to read it!
10. Chevruta study.
Chevruta, which comes from the same root for friendship in Hebrew, is the concept of studying Torah and other Jewish texts in pairs. I began to experience this form of study about a dozen years ago, when taking Jewish text-oriented classes. I was initially resistant, feeling awkward, but have come to very much appreciate it. It’s popular at the Havurah Institute, and I enjoy the chevruta study I did when I met Laurie Goldman there (shoutout to that class coming soon), and we still study together periodically. In the fall I studied Maimonides with awesome chevruta partner Debby Sommer under the auspices of the Camberville Open Beit Midrash (see DDGL #18:12); excited to be embarking on a Food in the Talmud course with her now.
11. Yoga shoutout: Ronnie Jersky.
Whenever I go to DC, I take classes at the wonderful Washington Yoga Center, have been going there since 2016. Ronnie teaches the most challenging and advanced yoga classes I’ve taken anywhere, and I learn so much in her classes. Am looking forward to taking a class with her this week.
12. Lavender.
In all forms. The flower, when I successfully grow the plant in my garden. As a scent for laundry soap, for bath soap, in tea (lovely with Earl Grey), ice cream…

Aleph Amulet

By Noam Sienna


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