"Do something to make the bitter waters sweet."

Traditional Jewish greeting, meaning "May you have a peaceful and fulfilling Sabbath."  (Shalom is the Jewish word for peace, but it comes from the root "shalem," which means whole, complete, or fulfilled.)

Went to temple this morning.  Hadn't been in a while, it was nice to be back.  Ran into Prof. Marcia Cohen, who happens to be a teacher at Hastings (I learned torts and FDA law from her).  Also got to say Kadish (the mourner's prayer) for my grandfather.

Today's bible portion was badass: it was the crossing of the Red Sea (which as most people know is a misnomer; it's actually the "Reed Sea," we're not sure where it really was, but it definitely wasn't the Red Sea).  When we got to the part where Miriam sings her song we all stood up.  The second bible portion had to do with Deborah who was a prophetess and also led the Israelites for a while when they were conquering the Promised Land.  There's one point where she's busy conquering an enemy army, and the enemy king escapes and runs into some woman's tent.  This woman tells the king she'll protect him, then she drives a tent stake through his fucking head.  Pretty gnarly.  Three powerful women, two of whom kick major ass, and all of whom are considered prophets.
The Hastings Asian/Pacific Islander Students Association put on a bowling even last night and I went with Yelena and Yelena's friend Amy.  Aaron & Paul came too.  It was cool.  I scored 28 on my first game.  No kidding.  So, no matter how badly you ever do at bowling, just remember: you did better than Jordan that one time.  (Second game I got 133.)
A couple buddies of mine are coming up from Santa Cruz tonight so I'm going to make this entry short, take care of some stuff around the house, and go party with them tonight.

Uploaded some more pics to the gallery.  It's pretty much done at this point.  I also reorganized it slightly so it's easier to see what's there.

There was another story in today's bible portion that struck me.  After crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites arrive at the well at Mara.  It was called that because Mara means "bitter" in Hebrew, and the water at this place was undrinkable (which, of course, caused the Israelites to complain).  There was a footnote in the book which talked about that scene.  It pointed out that religion is not meant to make life more pleasant; it is meant to make unpleasant life more bearable.

There's a Midrash (a made-up rabbinic story) that while they're at Mara, Moses asks God, "Why did You create brackish water in Your world, a liquid that serves no purpose?"
And God replies, "instead of asking philosophical questions, do something to make the bitter waters sweet."