My traditional Amazon birthday order
…is nothing but Judaica this year. After repeated email requests to my rabbi for a list of recommends, he still hasn’t responded. I know he’s a busy guy but this has been happening to me a lot lately with different people, and I’m tired of running after them for emails right now. So instead I picked some books for myself.
- a Chumash, the Artscroll Stone edition, even though I know my rabbi has Opinions about Artscroll. Suck it, boyo, it was the best price and size, and also this is what happens when you don’t give guidance to your conversion students.
- Embracing Judaism, Simcha Kling. This one he actually did recommend, along with the omnipresent Anita Diamant book that I’d already read.
- Teach Yourself to Read Hebrew, Ethelyn Simon and Joseph Anderson. I do already have a grammar book, but it starts off assuming literacy and uh I’m still struggling a bit.
- God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism, Abraham Joshua Heschel. I like Heschel a lot; I read The Sabbath already so it was just a matter of picking one to do next.
- The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet: The Sacred Letters as a Guide to Jewish Deed and Thought, Michael L. Munk, Nosson Scherman. I’m interested in this angle of things (those gematriya battles in The Chosen affected me early) and I also thought it would help cement the alphabet more in my head.
- Stories for Children and The Collected Stories, Isaac Bashevis Singer. This is basically candy. It’s my birthday, leave me alone.
- annnnd finally, I bought the most boring traditional-looking brass menorah I could afford. Since it will be the only menorah in town, I wanted something visibly and identifiably Jewish (distinguishable from the electric candelabra some non-Jewish families put up as part of Christmas decorations). And not too kitschy.
So that’s my upcoming 30th birthday. (It’s on the 21st, and knowing Canada Post, these will probably all be late, but not by too much.) I am a little existentially bummed about the aging thing, but I’m learning new stuff and doing something spiritually that I’ve wanted to do for half my life, if not more. I have a beautiful, witty and passionate fiancée whom I adore, even though we still have to live apart. My various minor but chronic health complaints have eased up this year. I am inclined to the view that being 29 and turning 30 is better than being 29 and not turning 30, after all, and that’s the important thing.