Saturday, October 25, 2008

Figuring out the future

In between trying to catch up on the first week's readings that I didn't do while I was sick this weekend, I went for a little evening chat with Rabbi Susan Silverman. I explained to her that while numbers suggest more women than men are attending HUC, there still are relatively few female rabbis around, and I'm always trying to pick up new role models, and get advice wherever and whenever I can. It was a really great chat. She told me a little more of her background, though not really as much as I was hoping for. But what was great, is she has a whole list of people she's going to put me in contact with. For one, David Sapperstein, of the Religious Action Center. She says I wouldn't need the contact to get a job at the RAC, but it couldn't hurt and she'd like to put us in touch. Furthermore, the idea that I could personally speak to David Sapperstein is like seeing the Dalai Lama. Oh wait. I did that, too. Also, she told me I should have a "Boston Week" sometime next semester, this summer, or in the fall before I file Div III, so that I can have various interviews. The Hebrew College is in Newton, MA, and it is a trans denominational, egalitarian, and gay-friendly rabbinical school, and she has a friend that runs it. She also has a colleague that does historic reconciliation work globally, and she suggested I contact him for ideas on my Div III, especially after I told her that I was hoping my project could be centered around closure for communities like Armenia that have no recognition for their painful history. Also for my Div III work, she suggested I get in touch with the woman who created the "Facing History and Ourselves" curriculum, who, according to Susan, I would be kindred spirits with. The "Facing History and Ourselves" curriculum is centered around the Holocaust (I think our Hebrew school borrows ideas from this, though does not follow the curriculum exactly), but it also about other communities and things like the role of the bystander and scapegoating in these situations. Lastly, she told me she would be able to put me in touch with the one and only Howard Zinn. I suppose I should actually read one or all of his books before I try to ask him for help. I hear such good things, they've just never been on my shelf, or even list, really. This, of course, after I read Life on the Fringes, about feminism and Judaism. Maybe my Arava classes are a heavy courseload, but at least I know I'm adding a lot to my education on the side!

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