Limmud NY: It begins!

This is the first of many Jewschool posts from Limmud NY 2006, the center of the Jewish universe for the next few days. The conference/gathering/whatever starts in earnest tomorrow, but the first crop of people arrived at Kutsher’s tonight. I’m blogging on shamirpower‘s computer, and we’ll be bringing you some of the highlights live from the Catskills.
Tonight I went to Rabbi Jen Krause‘s “iTorah: Soundtrack for Life”. The premise of the session was that we create our own iTunes-esque playlists out of moments in Torah. She went through a narrative, connecting moments throughout the Torah, starting with Adam and ending at the threshold of the promised land. The moments in between weren’t in the same order as they are in the text (operating on the principle of “ein mukdam um’uchar batorah” – there is no earlier or later in the Torah), but the flow had its own internal logic – at times linking together highlights of the relationship between people and God, swinging between faith and doubt, at times going through a composite of personal journeys. This narrative was the frame for the playlist itself: there was a CD with 20th-century songs to fit each moment. When God decided to destroy the world, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”, and then when the waters receded after the flood, “Here Comes the Sun”. When Abraham’s servant prays to find the right women for Isaac, “Like a Prayer”, and then when Isaac and Rebekah first meet (and she falls off the camel), “You’re the One that I Want” (from Grease). And so forth. We need to do more stuff like this, internalizing Torah so much that we can comfortably talk about it in the language of our contemporary culture.
Now it’s time to go to sleep so that I can get up and do the same thing I do every day: teach physics at 8:30 in the morning. Viz., Playing Dice with the Universe: Rabbinic Literature, Quantum Mechanics, and Indeterminacy. Ok, not exactly the same thing I do every day. But the kids are fine back home, watching the Tacoma-Narrows Bridge video.

One thought on “Limmud NY: It begins!

  1. I heard through the grapevine that BZ’s sessions have rocked Limmud’s socks, especially his Kabbalat Shabbat davening last night. Go BZ!

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