Warning: This is a long post. Today has left me with a lot of things to blog about. Yes, some are completely shallow (holy cow, the Xavier/Magneto slashiness in First Class!) but some are more serious (I'm closer to becoming Jewish than ever!).
I woke up early this morning for Torah study at the temple. I almost overslept and missed it, and the weekly parsha was a bit boring, but I'm so glad I went. Afterwards, Diane (a lady at the temple who's also working towards becoming Jewish) and I had a real official meeting with the rabbi about converting. We even got to use the rabbi's office, rather than a randomly-selected corner in the social hall, which is where all our previous meetings have been. I said as I was entering, "Ooh, I've never been in the rabbi's office before." Rabbi W: "Me neither!"
I take back everything I said about Rabbi W here. Today we talked for a long time, and I got a lot of the concrete answers about converting that I'd been looking for. I even got my own copy of our prayerbook! Diane works for the temple, and she gave me an old "dog-eared" one that isn't used in services anymore. But the rabbi did recommend me a book called Basic Judaism, and suggest I start picking out a Hebrew name. 1) Um, Rabbi, aren't I beyond the basics yet? 2) I already have a Hebrew name!
Afterwards, I went to Grandma's house to do my laundry, eat lunch,
play in her sprinkler water her garden, and clear out some of her spare rooms in preparation for her move. Adam and I packed up several boxes of dead books (mostly romance novels that had been Aunt Carolyn's, and mind-numbingly boring stuff that had been Dad's). It was kinda depressing, because so many of the books were typical Dad, and most of them had inscriptions like To Jake, from Steve, Christmas 1979. Apparently he never got anything but books as gifts. And I still hate the fact that Grandma is moving.
After that, Adam, Eva, Ben (that's right, Ben) and I all piled into Muse Watson and went to the mall to see X-Men: First Class. On the drive there, I remembered some study I read about how the more passengers you have in your car, the greater your chance of having an accident. I felt it, and the fact that I'm still getting over that damned car crash didn't help. I'd never driven with that many people before, traffic was heavy, and we were on a busy street. And I love Eva to death, but she's at that age where many things elicit a loud "Oh my gosh!" or a long laugh from her. (Hmm, maybe now I know how Sara feels.) I was very relieved when I finally got us all to the theater in one piece.
Anyway, about the actual movie. Spoiler Alert! In one word — awesome. No, amazing. No, epic. Even Eva, who's in no way familiar with the X-Men franchise, was blown away. I've had such high hopes for this movie ever since I watched the trailer, and I was not disappointed. Xavier and Magneto were both perfectly written and acted, and I was surprised by now much the movie made me care about the rest of the team too. (We barely knew Darwin, but his death? Just devastating.) As a rule, I never cry at movies, but this one actually made me come close. I've always loved Xavier and Magneto's relationship, and it was sad seeing them bond immediately, and knowing where they would end up later. Especially when Magneto flashed back to his mother lighting the Hanukkah candles, and he and Xavier both started crying.
On a somewhat similar note, on the way there, we were all talking about who our favorite X-Men character was, and I, of course, said mine was Magneto. Ben muttered (because he never talks, he only mutters) something like, "Yeah, because he's a Jew."
No, because he's a charming, witty, sophisticated, and all-around bad-ass villain, and he's been my favorite character ever since I saw the original X-Men movie in theaters (and I saw it in theaters three times) over ten years ago! (And holy crap, does saying that make me feel old.) And besides, I think any X-Men fan would agree that Magneto is "Jewish" only in the most secular sense of the word. It irked me, which made not seem to make sense, since Sara has made much worse comments — and offered to throw me in an oven — but the simple fact is that I'm okay with it from her but not from him (or anyone else). With Sara, I know she's joking. Ben can be, and often is, a jerk.
But I can't complain about anything today. There's a beautiful song called "You Shall Be a Blessing" by the recently-deceased Debbie Friedman (who composed a lot of beautiful Jewish songs) that was performed at services last night. These lyrics have been running through my head all day: L'chi lach [rise up and go] to a place that I will show you / L'chi lach to a land you do not know of. You can hear it, not the best version but the only one I could find, here.