Happy first day of Chanukah!!! I love Chanukah. Super exciting.
Up ahead, the book I plan to read this Shabbos and the articles I enjoyed from the past week.
The Middlesteins, by Jami Attenberg
I’m still catching up on a lot of contemporary Jewish writing, but am I wrong in expecting this to be uber depressing?? A late-in-life divorce AND eating issues???
My Body For Myself, by Hannah Wenger Tam for the JOFA blog
Wheeeeeeeeewieeeeeee. If you are unaware of what niddah is, it’s the state of impurity when a woman has her period and for 5+ days after. According to strict Orthodox Jewish guidelines, a husband and wife may not touch during that time, until she has gone and dipped in a body of water, or mikvah.
As someone whose love language is touch, let me tell ya ….
This essay is a wonderful expression of a certain kind of experience. I also cried on the way to the mikvah when I first got married. And there’s this cognitive dissonance, because it’s supposed to be this beautiful ritual that means we’re conducting our family life in a pure and beautiful way but then why does it feel so undignified. There’s a lot about Orthodox relationships that needs work (like pretending men don’t exist until, POP! it’s time for matchmaking, then it’s all do you wanna live with this guy forever or never see him again?) and this essay is a really good start in terms of addressing women’s bodies as more than theoretical.
How Previous Epidemics Impacted Home Design, by Elizabeth Yuko, back in March
A lot of people have been looking to the 1918 flu pandemic to understand what’s happening in 2020. (My favorite being Rachel Syme’s Tweets, below.) This was a really cool read – not as interesting as the title implies, mind you; like, the way we open and close doors was not affected. But apparently a lot of common design choices we take for granted actually had more to do with a psychological calming effect than an aesthetic choice.i understand the way people in the twenties used to party so much more now that we are basically living through 1918; i really didn't get it on a gut level before but now i do