Monday, February 26, 2007

Purim responses to synagogue break-in...

OK, after stewing about the break-in and vandalization (see my last post) for days, my relentlessly irreverent self has come up with something too awful to keep to myself.

Purim responses to the break-in:
  1. Find the offenders' double-wides, break-in, and vandalize *their* sacred objects (TV and beer cooler?)
  2. Require them to enter a beauty pageant to be judged by the Shrub.
  3. Make them sit in on a 2,000-class lecture series on the laws of sofrut. And then make a Purim spiel out of it. To be performed in costume. And filmed. And put on YouTube.

Any other ideas?

Idiots or Anti-Semites? Why Choose?

On Thursday night, some local (idiots? drunks? no-goodniks?) broke into one of our synagogues and got drunk, or continued to get drunk, and decided it would be fun to rip up some copies of the Talmud, and desecrate the Torah scrolls. Read the local paper's story

The "good" news is that:
  • a neighbor called the cops fairly quickly upon seeing suspicious activity (thank you, neighbor!)

  • It seems like the vandalism was just an afterthought, since from all accounts they broke in looking for a place to party, not because it was a synagogue (it doesn't look much like one from the outside)

  • The *entire* local Jewish community (and interfaith community), regardless of denomination, is rallying together to make sure the Orthodox community still has a place to pray and a valid Torah scroll to use, and to feel supported

The weird thing about this event is that something similar happened years ago at another local synagogue, where some hoodlums broke in, got drunk on Manishevitz (poor guys), ripped the Torah scrolls, and stole some things.

So, should we feel a little better because the violence was spontaneous, and not premeditated? Can you imagine something like this happening if they realized the place they broke into was a church? Would they have broken in anyway if they knew ahead of time that it was a synagogue?

I'm wondering this as we lay the foundations for a new synagogue building in a residential neighborhood, debating issues like where to put the sign (name) - how big should it be? do we *want* people to notice us? should we put it behind a plexiglass screen to protect it from vandalism? what kind of protection do we want for the entrance to the school?

And most of all, I wonder how I will explain things like this to my son, when he is old enough to ask questions.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Virtual Kiddushin

BBC today reports Pakistani couple who got married over the phone - one in Pakistan, one in Italy. It's apparently legal (in Pakistan).

I wonder how this would work for Jews getting married with VOIP?

1 - would a webcam satisfy the requirements for bedeken?

2 - could he send a perutah to her PayPal account for kinyan?

3 - can Verisign and Comodo serve as the witnesses to validate the couple's virtual signatures on the e-ketubah?

4 - should she walk seven times around her computer?
5 - I'm not even going to touch yichud... ;)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Yes Sir, That's My Baby

new photos from his Grandpa's digital camera - can't resist posting. Go on, tell me how cute he is!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mommy Thermostat

Warning! This post contains information from a breastfeeding mother that is NOT exactly tznius (modest) for general male consumption.

OK, are you still there?

(perverts) ;)

So, last week, one of my coworkers started complaining that the office was too warm. I think she sits right under a heating vent, or eats too many chili peppers, because the ambient temp here usually hovers in the high 60's - warm enough to be comfortable, but not so warm that modest clothing makes you uncomfortable.

Well, someone must have listened to her (or perhaps it was just the 22 degree weather outside the GIANT WINDOWS lining one wall), because yesterday I distinctly noticed it was colder.

Cold enough, in fact, that I was wearing my sweater AND a scarf while working at my desk.

Cold enough that when I went in to our small conference room to pump milk for my son, and raised my shirt up, I actually swore. No joke. (I'll let you guess which words I chose.)

Now, you may think you know cold offices. You may rant about how quickly your coffee gets cold, or your fingers go numb. But if you have never had to bare your midriff under a vent simply to keep your children fed, you don't know cold. Trust me.

Monday, February 05, 2007

My new, lower, standards

It's official. I'm a mother.

How do I know this?
Because today I felt pride in getting to work in mismatched clothes - because at least they were all clean.


Hypothesis: Help Writers are Smartasses

How else to explain any documentation from Microsoft? Better yet, this quote straight out of a help authoring tool (help for people who write help files):

"As soon as you start a project in [this software] you can do any number of things with it. Technically, you could build the final output immediately. However, if it is a new project, building the output right away would not do your end users much good, since the output does not yet have any real substance. The project needs topics, content, hyperlinks, navigation, and all of the other "stuff" necessary to help your end users."

Umm, yeah, thanks guys. Otherwise us poor dumb documentation types might just create blank help files and send them out to our hapless users. Come to think of it, that kind of file would be an improvement over some I've encountered (e.g. Microsoft reference above).

Hey, if anyone's reading, feel free to rant about bad documentation here. As a smartass help author, I'll probably just laugh at you, but it's good to get it off your chest.

Friday, February 02, 2007

It's a beautiful, sunny day!

That's all. Just happy about it.

Yay, sun. Yay, Earl grey tea. Yay, entire bag of chocolate. (no, not really, but it's tempting.)

Happy Tu B'shevat, everyone!