So Wednesday morning I was up by 6 (unheard of over in these parts), met Avieleh in front of her place (right near mine) at 6:40, and we were off in a cab to the Kotel [Western Wall] to be there at 7.

We’d been emailing for a couple of years, but never met. Our soferet is an absolute peach! I’m thrilled to discover how fantastic she is in real life (you never know with this whole “internet” thing–most people are as great as they write, but certainly not all of ’em) and super happy that my new friend lives in my neighborhood and is going to be around for a bit. Maybe we can convince her to stay on a little longer….

Anyway, Women at the Wall was packed, lots of students here for the summer and a few friends/colleagues/teachers/rock-star-like acquaintences who happened to be in town, so that was nice too. The presence of so many serious heroes in one place gave the event a nice, extra feeling of weight.

Anyway, we davvened. And then Sasha, a woman doing a documentary on Jewish feminism had me, Avieleh and Haviva stick around and be interviewed some more in some sort of Three Feminist Stooges formation (she’s already gotten footage of all of us going blah blah blah on our own, as well as some particularly weird “regular life” footage, like she followed me to the grocery store when I did my Shabbos shopping–watch Danya pick through the tomatoes and buy a lot of tofu!!) Avieleh posted a picture of the three of us here; I’m the one in the red with a look on my face like I just smelled something really, really bad. The rabbi’s in the middle, and the soferet on the other end. Dang, my friends are cool.

Anyway, then we showed Sasha how to lay tefillin for the first time (she had brought along her dad’s and had been hoping to learn), which was very cool and moving. Then lady H. went home and A. and S. and I made our way to Tmol Shilshom. I had brought my computer and had figured on working, but S. and A. were there, and fun to talk to… so I wound up not getting a ton of writing done, but I DID make them talk with me about the places I was feeling stuck in the chapter, so I left with a lot more clarity, which was exceedingly helpful. (My problem, I’m discovering, is that I need to write in solitude but often need to think in hevruta, which simply means that my poor friends are very heavily tapped when I’m working on something like this. God bless AIM, I tellya.)

Anyway, S. left a couple of hours later, but A. and I stayed there, working a little in tandem but mostly just talking until 6pm. At which point we walked home, and I endeavored to make a little more progress in my chapter. It’s definitely getting there, I don’t anymore feel like it owns me, but it’s hard. Broadly speaking, this book is on the trials, tribulations and political implications of taking on a religious discipline–I’m writing some about my own experiences, and sometimes need someone who has a little more distance than I do to help me get to the real marrow of a story, and in terms of analysis–you know, who doesn’t get sharper and smarter talking about a concept with someone else? Hard work, this writing stuff is. My acknowledgements page is going to be very long.

And on that note, I’m going to get back in there. Wish me luck.

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