Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Homecoming for Some

It's been very bittersweet watching the J-blogging conference and reading posts by Jameel and others about accompanying new olim.

There's a visceral homesickness for Jerusalem, where I lived for about 8 months back in 1996.

Humor at how seriously we bloggers take ourselves.

Frustration at how poorly the rest of the world seems to know/understand the real Israel.

Sadness, knowing that I would have a difficult time being accepted for Aliyah, despite my conversion, my strong commitment to the Jewish people, and to sustaining the Jewish homeland.

When I converted three years ago, after a long, long time of contemplation, and having been married to Bad Cohen for four years, I knew that my (Reconstructionist) conversion would not be accepted by some other Jews. That I would continue to be seen as an interloper, despite mikveh and bet din, kashrut and other halacha I adopted.

I was OK with this. It was, and is, more important for me to true to my own beliefs and practices, within the context of my Jewish community, than to kowtow to a small group who claim to have the only legitimate version in order to gain wider acceptance.

What's galling is how the increasingly narrow definition of Judaism staked out by this group is imposed on the official policies of a nation/state that is supposed to be a homeland for all the Jews. Sadly, my homeland is a place where I will only be welcome as a foreign visitor.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Current Reading

Just so you understand how fragmented my life can be sometimes, here's a list of SOME of the books I've read from in the past day:

Feersum Endjinn by Iain M. Banks
Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch
Chronic Pain and the Family by Julie Silver
Bedtime Sh'ma by Gershman and Swarner
Landing Page Optimization by Tim Ash
Winnie-the-Pooh (various) by A. A. Milne
Truck Board Book by Donald Crews
Little Bunny Follows his Nose by Katherine Howard The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Travesty of Justice

The local City Council has just voted to approve an ordinance which would let judges ban an individual accused of certain crimes from a 20-block square area of the downtown for a 90-day period.

The ban would require a "preponderance of evidence" that the individual had committed the crime, and is designed to curb increasing vandalism, shoplifting, threatening behavior, etc., from the homeless/addicted groups which have been hanging out downtown and bothering store owners and customers.

Anyone spot the problem yet?

In the US, whatever the evidence found by the police, one is legally innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Not until accused, not until suspected, not until judged so in a hearing.

This ruling basically says, we're going to violate the civil rights of people who have no money for an independent legal defense because they're bothering good tax-paying citizens.

If the problem is that an actual trial takes too long, the solution is not to punish the (legally innocent) accused, but to speed up the court process.

What does a "banned" suspect do if they live and/or work in the downtown? Oh, well, that's not a concern here, say the proponents, the kinds of people accused don't have anywhere to live and don't work.


So screw 'em.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Flooring advice?

Does anyone have a good recommendation for prying up parquet tiles without damaging them?

A one-foot wide swath of tiles around two sides of our living room are now buckled up from a minor plumbing catastrophe earlier this week, and it seems Home Despot no longer sells these. My plan, such as it is, is to remove them (as intact as possible), trim off a bit where they've swelled up, and pop them back into place.