How Do You Jew An educational, informational, conversational blog and (someday) podcast about Judaism, Jewish practices, customs, and rituals, Israel, and whatever else we decide to talk about.

February 5, 2010

Shabbat shalom x2

Starting off the weekend right with a couple of outstanding drashot from two of my favorite rabbis:
First, again, is Rabbi David Wolpe from Sinai Temple in LA, whose weekly Off The Pulpit I’ve mentioned before – it’s consistently inspirational and thought-provoking (I’m including the sign-up information at he bottom so you can subscribe too):

Yearning to Learn

By Rabbi David Wolpe

Knowing where to find information is not the same as possessing it. Each fact we learn is arranged in the matrix of all we already know. One who knows how to Google “Shakespeare sonnets” cannot be compared to the one who has memorized Shakespeare’s sonnets. The latter carries the words with him. The former is an accountant of knowledge; he knows where the treasure is, but it does not belong to him.

Real education instills a desire for knowledge, not merely the tools to acquire it. We are shaped by what we know and what we yearn to know. The Talmud tells us that as a young man Hillel was so desperate for words of Torah that he climbed on the roof of the study house to hear the discourses of his great predecessors, Shemaya and Avtalion. Noticing the darkness, they looked up and saw the young man on the skylight, covered with snow. The rabbis rescued Hillel, washed and anointed him, and sat him by the fire.

“If you want to build a ship,” wrote Antoine de Saint Expury, “don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the sea.” First teach children to love learning; the web will wait.

We hope that you will email these words to a friend, and encourage them to sign up by e-mail so they will be able to receive similar articles as well as updates in the future. Together, let’s create a virtual community of modern Torah for the 21st century!

Closer to home is my dear Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal of Tifereth Israel Synagogue, who co-officiated at my wedding and continues to be a valued spiritual leader and guide. The Mi Shebeirach prayer is on my mind and my lips a lot these days, so this is particularly poignant and meaningful for me:

Dear Friends:

I meet with our Abraham Ratner Torah School students one Wednesday a month. We usually meet in our Goodman Chapel. This month I introduced them to a new addition to our chapel, the Mishebeirach tapestry that was fashioned from the creative contributions of many members of our Sisterhood and congregation.

This fabrication of this tapestry was the brainchild and labor of love of Sharyl Snyder. Sharyl had seen a similar tapestry on display on Temple Emanu-El and thought we should have one as well. Our Mishebeirach tapestry enlivens our chapel with its very personal artwork and stands as a reminder to all who are ill or in pain that they are not alone. At Tifereth Israel Synagogue they are a member of a community that cares and prays for them.

I asked the students to find the multiplicity of Jewish symbols on the tapestry. They correctly identified many of them and shared how they thought creators of each square expressed their care and concern for those who are ill.

I also used the introduction of the Mishebeirach tapestry to explain to our students the Mishebeirach prayer we say each morning at our daily minyan and on Shabbat (“May the One who blessed our ancestors…send healing to…”).

On the spur of the moment I also said the prayer with them and asked them to share the names of their relatives and friends who were ill and pray for their recovery. It was very quiet during our prayer and I found myself surprised by how it had turned our learning into a spiritual and sacred experience.

That same evening we talked about the Mishebeirach prayer at a meeting of our Ritual Committee. We all expressed the same thought: we all believed that our communal prayers for those who are ill are efficacious and powerful even though we are not sure how they work.

The next time you are in the synagogue, please stop by the chapel to see the new Mishebeirach tapestry. I also invite you to find as many Jewish symbols as you can and try to discover their relationship to Jewish healing and life. You may also want to use the opportunity to say your own prayer for those you love who are suffering or in pain.

Even though your prayer does not guarantee that those who are suffering will be healed, I am confident that their burden will be eased by your caring.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal
Tifereth Israel Synagogue
San Diego, CA
rabbi@tiferethisrael.com

Hope these words help you have a truly peaceful and meaningful Shabbat.

December 15, 2007

Two broken things in one day

Filed under: productivity,random,technology,usability — howdoyoujew @ 20:51

I don’t remember if I became a fan of Mark Hurst because of his Good Experience Games or This is Broken or some other aspect of his good user experience work, but I am a big fan, as I’ve mentioned before.

Re: This is Broken, I ran into two egregious examples today:

  1. this packaging disaster, courtesy of ASAP software, recently bought by Dell:
  2. Horrible envelope waste

  3. the other item is the WiFi activation switch on the HP Pavilion laptop. first, let me just say that having a physical WiFi activation switch makes no sense to me, but that may just be my higher-than-average comfort with technology talking (I have no problem disabling network adapters via the user interface, for example). That said, putting the switch somewhere where it can be inadvertently toggled is bad design to begin with. This is the case not only with the pavilion, but with another friend’s Toshiba laptop that I dealt with some months ago. Anyway, the brokenness of the HP switch isn’t just in its location (the front panel of the laptop, where it can easily be accidentally flipped on/off). The bigger problem is its design, especially in terms of feedback. I haven’t been able to find a decent picture of it, but here’s a pic of a well-designed wifi switch:
    well-designed wifi-switch
    The switch on the HP is also a side-to-side toggle, but the little antenna icon is on one side, and an LED is on the other. That said, which position do you think is “on”? I bet more than 90% of people presented with that question would say the side with the icon. And we would all be wrong. Yes, the OPPOSITE side, the side with no icon or any marking at all, is the position that turns the wifi adapter on. The LED? Oh, that lights up either way. And no, not in the universally recognized red & green for “stop/no signal” and “go/signal”. No. This one is, if memory serves, blue and orange. Unbelievable.

Powered by WordPress