So I remain here in the abode of my excellent hosts in Evanston for a couple of more days. I haven’t gotten to see as much of my family as I would have liked to this trip, but the ups and downs of my sick forced me to cancel some plans–going to see my 89 year-old grandmother on the border of flu is not the greatest of ideas, you know?
But anywhichway, I’ve had a lot of time for nice, lazy visiting with L. and M. over here in Epicopalianland. Both L. and M. are seminary people–doing grad work at the seminary here on Northwestern’s campus, plus M. works there. This works out well given that Episcopalians are basically the Conservative Jews of the Christian world. They’re just as halakhically geeky (someday I’ll follow the discussions about which color vestments get worn on which saint’s day), just as tradition-and-change trying to take the middle path, and these days just as full of inter-movement drama and conflict about the same sort of things we are. Umm, gay ordination, anyone?
Throw in the fact that M. is the kind of geek who had me bring a bunch of Hebrew seforim (Na”ch mikraot gedolot, Midrash Rabbah, etc.) back from J’lem and the fact that L. has a more Jewish mind than I do (she routinely anticipates the complex logical move the Talmud or poskim are about to make as I’m explaining some arcane idea to her), plus the fact that I spent my undergraduate years following around my school’s Early Christianity professor, and you get a lot of dorktabulous conversations about how the ancient world would have read Mary’s virginity or the practical implications of hilchot avodah zarah (the idol-worship thing again). Awww, yeah.
I’ve gotten to meet and/or spend time with a lot of their people, which has been fun. Like I said, Anglicans are my kinda people. I’ve been doing some revamping on my tallitot katanot this week (this involves cutting the tztizit off the garment, adjusting the garment, and then tying new ones on) so there are a lot of tied tzitzit around that are no longer serving in active duty. The going wisdom is that even though you don’t need to put old tzitzit in the geniza, they are a ritual object and it’s nice to continue to put them to use. As such, I’ve been giving them away as bookmarks to all the Anglicans (and Ken, the Presbyterian) who have been wandering in and out of here–goodness knows I have plenty, and there’s no question these nice people would treat them with love. It’s fun to see them get all, like, “Oooh, cool” at the weird Jewy ritual sacred mysterious thing, and then take a whole bunch of them, like it’s so clear that one is so not going to be enough. I’m glad my old tzitzit are going to good homes.
Now I need to get back to figuring out what I’m going to say at this conference, which starts Sunday, which means that today is pretty much my last chance to cobble together an interesting thought or two….
The Christmas Eve service I attend every year w/ my in-laws is low-church Episcopalian, and I was just saying to Naomi Chana last night that if I’m going to find myself in a church service, that’s just the right kind for me. *g* I like your theory that Episcopalians are the Conservative Jews of Christendom.
And I totally love that you’re giving away your old tzitzit as bookmarks to theology geeks! That’s fantastic. The conversations you’re having sound like a mighty lot of fun, too. 🙂