School’s out for summer, which means my work environment changes pace. Normally I spend a lot of time serving as a resource person — which is to say, responding to daily requests from other folks around the school for this and that, highly interrupt-driven. Over the summer, it’s a lot more project-based: big-picture time to think about things we need, or improvements we could use, and to dither around with possible ideas in creative ways. (Also to reorganize and clean out the ridiculous piles of crap that have accumulated in my office, but hey.) So although the way I’ve spent much of today could certainly be denigrated as “dicking around online”, it’s really also a mode of study and a recharging of creative batteries. If you want to know what I love about this job… it’s the fact that that can be true. That these things matter.
Moreover, I’ve also been doing a bit of introspection lately about my Jewish and/or artistic life, which is to say, the things that interest me most deeply and the ways in which they interact. Not that there’s anything new about my interests in language and lettering and prayer and depth of connection and the nature of the Divine — not to mention singing (literal and metaphorical) and the body (ditto) and nourishment and mysticism and joy and home. But — what do they mean? :-) What’s the Gestalt? What am I doing with them?
For some time now I have been mulling around elements for a work of YA Jewish fiction I want to write — write! — and every now and then I see a new piece of the puzzle and say “aha, maybe that fits in here somewhere”. I suspect I have another much larger post brewing on all these topics for later, and maybe the summer will be a good time for that. But for the moment, I’m just going to set out some of the network of interesting stuff from today.
Yonah Lavery‘s awesome Talmud Comics, and the associated blog. I already emailed the artist to order a poster version of this one.
By way of the New Vilna Review: The Museum of Psalms (really more of an art gallery, it sounds like) in Jerusalem.
The Jewish Virtual Library has a section on Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress.
In case there is anyone in the world who does not know about these (because apparently there still are such people), it is my duty to share my two favorite leyning (Torah reading/cantillation) resources: Ellie’s Torah Trope Tutor gives you the names and melodies of all the tropes. Navigating the Bible gives complete text and audio (i.e., sung through the trope) of all the weekly Torah readings (as well as the Haftarah portions). (And of course, anyone who would like to do any reading EVER at is always heartily encouraged to jump in and sign up. :-)
Lastly, in lieu of my usual Friday Hebrew lesson for my dear friend T, I commend to you all Balashon: The Hebrew Language Detective. It reminds me considerably of the work of Joseph Lowin (whose own site seems to be down or nonexistent) and the other topical Hebrew lessons at the amazing Jewish Heritage Online Magazine, one of my very favorite sites on the entire Internet. (To my mind, it’s not far from this kind of etymological exploration to Edenics and the work of Isaac Mozeson, but I’ll leave the really wacky stuff for another day. :-)
And with that, I’m out of here. Shabbat shalom, y’all.