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Salvia



Posts : 166
Join date : 2012-12-29
Age : 29
Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: hello   Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:32 pm

Hi, I'm Salvia :)
I am new in this place, and I hope you will not object to my presence here, because actually I am not jewish...just interested, and since a long time. Although I was raised as a protestant I've always had jewish influences around me, and they have inspired me more, in many ways, that protestantism, which I've always found difficult to swallow. Apart from that, I'm a huge fan of sephardic jewish music, which is not religious, most of the time, but which I associate strongly and positively with judaism.
Today something weird happened that made me seek things on google, and in the end I found this site. I found it interesting, and I look forward to interesting discussions with all of you; even if I don't really know where I stand religionwise (well, I know what I believe in, but I have no idea in what religion it would exactly fit), and from what I've read most members of this site have a quite rational approach to religion, whereas my personal approach is more...mystical? Meditative is maybe a better word. I do however always enjoy a good discussion, and my mind is always hungry for food for thought, and I believe there is food in this place. Mind if I join your table?

Ps: oh, I forgot to say I'm learning hebrew!! Well...I started this week, which means I can read the first six letters of the alfabet with their funny vowel-dots, and prounounce this. So there's work to be done. But this is fun! I know most people start learning hebrew because they have decided to become jewish, I haven't but I love learning new languages and reading texts in their original, so...
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searchinmyroots

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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:46 pm

Welcome Salvia!

Glad you found the forum and hope to see many of your posts.

There is a very diverse crowd here so don't feel out of place at all. If you have any questions or want to know more information on something, just ask!

If we don't have an answer, we most likely can refer you to someone who does!

But then again there may be more answers than one. But that's what makes it interesting.

This is sooo much to learn and soo much wisdom within Judaism, you're sure to "find your place" even if you are not Jewish.

And I am glad you are learning Hebrew. Then you can really see what the Hebrw bible says and understand it better. Much better than some 3rd generation translations which leave out the "essence" of the language.
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Sarit

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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:30 am

Hello, Salvia, and feel welcomed, please!

We are all different here, coming from different backgrounds, struggling with our own thoughts and excitements through discussion - you've find just the right place!

As searchinmyroots said, there is so many paths of wisdom within Judaism, from very rational to very mystical, and we're all encourage to learn and search, so I suppose you'll feel comfortable enough. :)

Oh, you're learning Hebrew, it's wonderful! I plan to start it next fall, until then I'm learning as much as I can online.

Enjoy the forum!
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:28 am

Thank you for your welcome!
Searchinmyroots, I think I'm still far away from the moment where I will be able to read the Hebrew bible...But I have one of the best translations that exist: it's a dutch bible that came out a few years ago (well, eight years ago) that has been translated from the Hebrew as literally as possible. So where the Hebrew uses the same words in different contexts, troughout the Tenach, the translator has used the same word in his translation as well. And he has kept the phrase structure as much as possible, too...
As far as translations go, I think this is one of the best, although it is not a very easy one to read: you need some background to appreciate it, I believe.
I had it as a present for my eighteenth birthday when it just came out: my parents were a bit surprised but not unhappy to give me a bible for my birthday. The reason I loved it in the first place is because it translates the Name as the ONE, instead of LORD or I don't know what other translations are used in English. The Greek philosopher Plotinus wrote that we can't know the Divine, rationally, there isn't much we can positively say about It, save for that It is One, and Good. So he wrote about the Divine as 'to hén to agathon', the One and the Good. With a neutral article. Which I appreciated as a feminist teenager because, as the Divine is potential of ALL being, male and female, and as male and female are both made in the image of the One, the idea of the One being presented as only male made me angry, but Oneness, the idea of Unity of all being within the Divine, has always made sense to me. So I was very happy to get this translation, in which I found back this feeling of an infinite but a bit abstract G*d and I still love it. Especially the Psalms are beautiful, but I might be biased because I love the Psalms anyway.

Although I am not an angry teenager anymore I still appereciate the idea of infinite potential, and I think Oneness, unity is at the core of my personal theology. Which is pretty much the reason I am interested in Judaism, I think: it is the only real monotheist relgion, and if I understood it well the only one with Unity as one of its core beliefs?

Sorry for rambling! Too much thoughts these days, and I'm afraid I found in your forums a place to let them out.

Sarit: Yes, I am learning hebrew, but on my own, with a book. I am not sure it will get me very far, but at least it it worth trying :) There are no hebrew classes in my area, unfortunately. Thank you so much for your welcome!
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Sarit

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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:51 pm

Salvia, the translation problem is a great and exciting one, as much as the language as such and the text interpretation possibilities are. That is one of the things that fascinated me very much since I was little.

Having been a feminist teenager, and being a postfeminist/feminist now (I'm also working professionally in the field of gender theory and activism) I can completely relate to your thoughts. Well, as I understand it, G-d is One - so isn't subjected to classical human social constructs/norms of sex and gender. G-d is beyond that and/but also includes that as a possible aspect of being (having in mind that not any aspect of G-d is finite and humanly shaped/constructed - yet we are created in the image of G-d, which I understand as being created with a possibility to learn/know/approach G-d).

Of course, there are numerable other interpretations.

There are many topics here where you can share your thoughts! I'm looking forward to read your posts! :)
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:10 pm

Sarit,
Actually....I complete share your interpretation! I could have written that, cool Very Happy

Gender studies is one of my fields of interest: I only followed one trimester on the subject during my MA, but I like to read blogs on feminism/gender studies/queer theory, although I do not always find the time to really follow them.
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Sarit

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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:23 pm

Wonderful! I began working on gender studies/women studies/queer studies during my BA studies, MA also, and currently I'm writing PhD thesis which will intertwine gender/women studies, theory of text, poststructuralisms and theoretical psychoanalysis. Great - we'll have a lot of things to talk about, since all of those approaches are inseparable from my process of thinking anyway! :)

I don't have a blog and, somewhat unfortunately, all my published papers are in Serbian language (I still don't have enough confidence in my English!), but if I ever start a blog (I thought about that, actually!)... I'll surely tell you (all of you)! Very Happy
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:31 pm

Sure do so! Your subjects interest me!

My own field of studies is more linked to medieval languages and literature and comparative historical linguistics, but I'm interested in applying modern text theory to medieval texts. There are some very nice feminist papers on the medieval French fabliaux Very Happy
My process of thinking is also very much influenced by my studies - although I do surely hope it is not medieval Razz My 'mystical' side probably is...

Another reason to like Judaism: it's all about text theory and interpretation Very Happy
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:45 pm

Something else which I'd like to share about my interest for Judaism.

Actually, my conception of G-d as genderless is very much influenced by my late grand-uncle, who was a scholar of Judaism. When he was not telling stories about his 'master' (=his rabbi) he was goig on about 'the Lord' and the 'wisdom of the fathers'. So I asked him, about the 'wisdom of the mothers' (can't remember his answer, it was something like 'yes, yes, the mothers are important too', and this didn't satisfy me) and once, when he had been talking about 'the Lord' ALL DAY, I said: 'or the Lady, because G-d has no body so IT is neither feminine nor masculine'; I realised at the moment I said it that that was how I really believed it. My grand uncle gave me a funny look and told me 'I'd become wise one day'.

He also told me, when I was a child of...eight years old? Don't remember, a story that I've seen here on the board in a somewhat different form: that before a child is incarnated in the world, an angel takes its hand in heaven and shows him all of the world and tells him all wisdom. Then the angel snaps its finger before the nose of the child, and it forgets all wisdom before it is born. I loved the story clearly: it stayed with me.
Of course one shouldn't take it literally, but I think it is a poetic rendering of a great truth: that before our incarnation we are one with the One and thus part of all wisdom. When incarnated we forget about this, but somehow it stays with us in a way, and creates yearning for wisdom...
In my late teens there was a quote in the book of Sirach I loved: 'since very young I have coveted Wisdom, and tried to gain her as a bride'...From the top of my head, maybe I don't have the actual quote here. But it exprimes a sentiment I share deeply.
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Sarit

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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:08 pm

Salvia wrote:
Something else which I'd like to share about my interest for Judaism.


He also told me, when I was a child of...eight years old? Don't remember, a story that I've seen here on the board in a somewhat different form: that before a child is incarnated in the world, an angel takes its hand in heaven and shows him all of the world and tells him all wisdom. Then the angel snaps its finger before the nose of the child, and it forgets all wisdom before it is born. I loved the story clearly: it stayed with me.
Of course one shouldn't take it literally, but I think it is a poetic rendering of a great truth: that before our incarnation we are one with the One and thus part of all wisdom. When incarnated we forget about this, but somehow it stays with us in a way, and creates yearning for wisdom...

Yes, I know this story too! I know the version where the angel taps the child on the upper lip (hence the philtrum!) and it forgets all that it knew in a moment. Anyway, as you've said, the yearning for wisdom and learning stays with us, as the need to recollect that knowledge.

Salvia wrote:
In my late teens there was a quote in the book of Sirach I loved: 'since very young I have coveted Wisdom, and tried to gain her as a bride'...From the top of my head, maybe I don't have the actual quote here. But it exprimes a sentiment I share deeply.

That is really nicely said.
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searchinmyroots

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PostSubject: Re: hello   Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:19 pm

If you or anyone is looking for a great online learning source for the Hebrew language, I recommend this site:

http://www.thehebrewcafe.com/learn/

It is run by a freind of mine who is truly dedicated to teaching. And the best part is........

It's free!

So there you can study on your own and ask questions, or study online with some of the books and courses listed.

If you have the time, it is worth the effort.

Have fun!
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Salvia



Posts : 166
Join date : 2012-12-29
Age : 29
Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:00 pm

That's a cool forum, it also does Latin and Greek! I have Latin at university level and also some Greek (although I might have lost it) so I could be a help to others as well...but I can't register as the 'antispam' thingy doesn't appear Sad
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searchinmyroots

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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:18 pm

I'll send your message to the forum owner and get you registered.

If you can wait until I receive a reply from him, I'll give you the information on how to do so.
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:21 pm

Of course I can wait, G-d willing I do have some time ;)

Thank you for your help!
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searchinmyroots

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PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:26 pm

Wow, that was the fastest reply I've ever received!

Okay, I'm on it. Should have a response within the next day or two.
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Salvia



Posts : 166
Join date : 2012-12-29
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Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: Re: hello   Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:27 pm

I'm behind my computer, gmail is always on, and I receive reply notifications ;)
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searchinmyroots

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PostSubject: Re: hello   Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:27 pm

Okay, I have his contact info.

You can contact him at jaihare@gmail.com. His name is Jason and he will be very happy to help you. Let him know that you want to join the forum but are having difficulty and what the problem is. Tell him "Searchinmyroots" sent you.

Let me know if you have any problems or need more info.

I hope it works out for you! :)
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searchinmyroots

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PostSubject: Re: hello   Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:27 pm

Salvia,

I just heard from my friend over at the Hebrew language forum.

He said - "I think I've taken care of the registration problem. Tell her to give it a try"


So I would recommend you try to register now and see how it goes.

Let me know either way!

Hoping for the best!
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Salvia



Posts : 166
Join date : 2012-12-29
Age : 29
Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: Re: hello   Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:36 pm

it worked!!! Great!
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searchinmyroots

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PostSubject: Re: hello   Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:08 pm

Fantastic!

I hope the site is useful, I'm sure you'll find it is.


Have fun!
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Salvia



Posts : 166
Join date : 2012-12-29
Age : 29
Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: Re: hello   Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:02 pm

I took a profile picture - so you have a face to talk to. Just my most recent picture, even if my skin is awfully white at the end of winter Razz
So far for being anonymous ;) I don't think any of my real life aquaintances visits this site...:)
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Sarit

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Location : Belgrade, Serbia

PostSubject: Re: hello   Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:59 pm

It's so nice meeting you by the picture also (besides the words)! I'll try to find some recent pictures of mine so I'll put my own, too! I think that no one will search for me here necessarily, but if they do - well, it's me, I wouldn't say I'm not anyway. Very Happy
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geekima



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Join date : 2013-03-09

PostSubject: Re: hello   Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:23 pm

Welcome Salvia!

Don't worry about not being Jewish...every convert started out as a non-Jew. My conversion is taking years, so I'm not Jewish yet, either.

I consider myself an Orthodox feminist, which I would have to admit, requires a lot of contradiction at times. However, I think you will find a lot you will enjoy reading about when it comes to topics like "Ein Sof," which is the mystical way of pondering the totality of the devine. A good book, if you like a very deep, rather technical read, is "Judaism, Physics, and G-d." It strays a bit from what most Orthodox would find acceptable from a theological standpoint at times, but it really captures the concept of a deity that exists outside of time and controls everything.

Another concept within Judaism that speaks to me is the shechina. If you're unfamiliar with it, the shechina is the feminine aspect of G-d and is also G-d's presence in the world. Although traditional Jewish texts often refer to G-d in the masculine, there was always the idea of G-d as a being beyond gender, yet also encompassing both.

Welcome to the board and best wishes on your search, wherever it may take you. If you're anything like me, it's the search itself that is often its own reward. :)
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: hello   Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:20 pm

Schechina, is that the same as the Sophia in Greek thought?
The wisdom of G-d,His "Bride" in metaphoric terms?

It's an idea I like a lot, as I think is clear :)
And how could G-d ever be only masculine when He has no body and is the potential of everything. Never made sense to me :) The more I learn about Judaism, the more I am astonished how much SENSE it makes (the Ein Sof is one of the ideas that make so much sense, I read about it in a book I haven't finished yet...but I'm going to try to lay hands on the book you mention afterwards). It is all so logical...within my own paradigm. It is seriously the first religion that DOESN'T want you to believe in all kinds of mumbo-jumbo that really leads astray from what the point is: the unicity and unity of G-d, His goodness and how we can maybe never understand G-d but perceive Him in a way (like in my 'subtitle', what is the right word?) and have a relationship with Him (for him, read Her if you prefer, or It).
That's all that really counts, no?

Now I'm off because I have loads of cleaning to do and a cake to bake and fish to clean and...HALP.

Shabbat shalom :)

PS: another strophe from the same poem as my 'subtitle':
Far off thou art, but ever nigh;
I have thee still, and I rejoice
I prosper, circled with thy voice
I shall not loose thee though I die
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Salvia



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Join date : 2012-12-29
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Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: Re: hello   Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:32 pm

But though I seem in star and flower...

I spend the last two or three hours of this shabbat in one of my favourite patches of nature, an inland bay with salt water and loads of birds. As I walked on the muddy path to the shore I felt already my spirits lifting seeing and smelling the broom with its coconut scent and the sweet mimosa...and the beautiful stately high pine trees. I love pine trees!
I needed a refill in the inner shalom 'n emunah reserves, if I can call it that way, feeling really a bit lost with unclear future and unclear everything...and I feel that, although ALL creation is in a way part of the Creator, silent places of beauty make it easier to perceive this...and this bay is my 'inspiration-place', when I go there I most often bring pen and paper to to write down the ideas and poetry and other things that always come up. But today I just went to sit down at the waterside and closed my eyes and cleared my mind...breathing in breathing out. Like meditation, but without wanting to be enligthened or anything new agey, just clearing the head and opening myself up to inspiration, being conscient of the Divine that dwells in everything... Not very Jewish maybe Razz But the idea was peace of mind on Shabbat and opening up to G-d!

And I feel so much better now. After a time I opened my eyes again and just sat at the waterside, watching the birds, listening to their cries, watching the water turning from silver to gray to glittering darkness....nobody around. And in the end I just felt some sadness inside of me, don't know why. Because feeling lost, maybe. Being on a crossroads in life and having no idea where I'll be, what I'll be doing in a few months isn't easy. Requires a lot of faith to just be okay with it and believe that everything will turn out for the better. Although I DO firmly believe so, I do sometimes have to be very strict with myself when fear wants to take over. Seeing the beauty of creation helps. How could anything go really totally wrong in such a beautiful world? Beauty as a proof for the goodness of G-d...

And I also thought on this Judaism thing. Do I want to become Jewish? Am I meant to become Jewish? Maybe. I do feel an attraction, and it is strong. And I feel a connection. And the sense everything I learn about Judaism makes. But...do I have a Jewish soul? This is the first prerequisite, I've been told. That, I don't know. And if I don't know it is probably because I haven't got one, or because, if I would have one, this is just not the time yet to be very serious about this question.
The story about the angel snapping beneath the nose before a baby is incarnated in this world rings very true. And if I don't have a Jewish soul I still have A soul, one that does remember vaguely something of unity with the One and jearns to refind harmony and peace. This is something we don't experience in the here and now, or at least not for long times, but it IS an ideal, it is what pushes people to search, to look for meaning, for connection. Sometimes we do experience a glimpse. For example when we clear our minds at a beautiful place in nature and just let things be... for me this works, I feel renewed faith and trust and hope, even if it comes with tears. Even if things seem to be stagnating so much right now: "everything happens for a reason, and, sometimes, nothing happens for a reason".
And I guess, as the yearning is universal in every person that cares to listen to his or her soul, the answer must be universal too. If I am not meant to be Jewish, I can trust in G-d. And listen to Him and search Him in everything, trying to be a good person, being good to others, study Hebrew and the Torah to get to know Him better (because I am arrived at the stage where I think that, if one religion has answers and it's not ALL this situation with the blind men and the elephant, for those who know that story, it must be Judaism), and...just be nice as is asked from gentiles.
But, if I decide I am not meant to be Jewish and will never convert, then I'm missing out on keeping the mitzvot. I can be as kasher as I want as a gentile but...not my convenant, mate. Which makes me miss out on this great system G-d gave the Jewish people to be conscient of him in every aspect of their lives, as the commandments do influence virtually every aspect of life, and thus to work on their relationship with Him in virtually everything they do. Which I think is fantastic. These commandments may complicate life a bit sometimes but who cares, if the reward is a stronger bond with G-d? I'd totally go orthodox Very Happy (no I wouldn't, don't think orthodoxy wants a Salvia in their midst Razz )

I've been having a yearning in my soul for reconnection, for unity, as long as I've been able to think on religion. And I've learned about different religions and spiritualities. Some I liked very much, but their were always some reservations, even as I was very enthousiastic. I also really looked for community, because believing etc. is fine, but if you can't share it with your fellow human beings, it is....hollow, in a way. It doesn't make that much sense. For some maybe, but personally I'm no hermit material, I need people.

What I'm afraid of is, that because it is such a large and varied religion, EVERYONE can find stuff in it that makes sense. Or intrprete things in such a way that it makes sense. Are they in that case becoming Jewish or are they trying to bent Judaism to what they themselves perceive as truth?

This is maybe the most muddy vague post I've written until now on this board. Sorry. Blame the fresh air and the revived hopefull spirit and th weird state one gets in from silence and solitude and concentrating on the inner stuff. I am maybe too honest for my own good right now.
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