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Archive for March, 2007

A Shabbat Experience

Posted by jbharp on March 18, 2007

This Friday night I attended the Shabbat services at Temple Beit Torah (TBT). This is another synagogue in town other than the one I have been attending over the past few weeks. I had a few conversations with a some Jewish co-workers who encouraged me to check out both synagogue in town, so I finally decided to try TBT.

There appeared to be more people at TBT than the average attendance at Temple Shalom, including more children and more youth. And many people in the congregation had a part in the service. A teenage girl lit the Shabbat candles. These two candles resemble the commands of Shabbat: To Remember (Zachor) Shabbat and To Observe (Shamor) Shabbat.

An eldrely lady read a portion of the service book. She began reading before the appropriate time. Even though a few people spoke up correct her, she didn’t stop until a man in front of her turned around and put his hand over her reading. In the middle of her reading, after she began at the proper time, she turned over too many pages. Again it took the man in front of her to flip her service book to the correct page. She commented to the Rabbi and the congregation, “You’ll never ask me to do this again.” Many people laughed.

After the Torah reading, the children went up front to help the rabbi adorn the Torah before it was placed back into the ark. I noticed one helper, a little boy probably around five years old, had a familiar symbol on the top of his kippah. I took a closer look as he returned to his seat, and noticed that on his kippah was none other than the man of steel, Superman. The symbol of course was his distinguishable “S” insignia.  

I didn’t stay around after the service to meet anyone. I’ll go back this Friday and will make more of an effort though. I’m hoping that there will be more of a regular crowd at TBT than what I found at Temple Shalom, who is currently without a Rabbi.

In the “sermon,” the Rabbi pointed out the American tendency to throw out our possessions as soon as they become outdated, broken, or unneeded (well, most of us. Visit my aunt’s house for a contrary habit). This was not the course of action by the Israelites toward the first set of tablets containing the 10 commandments that Moses had thrown to the ground. There were two tablets placed in the ark (I Kings 8.9, I Chor 5.10). Since the word tablet already implies two pieces, it is thought that these versus suggest that the first set as well as the second set of tablets was there (think about two pair of pants. That would be four legs, right).

The Rabbi concluded with the significance of holding on to the things that have meaning to us, the things that have an impact on our life and change the way we live. It is clear these tablets were meaningful to Israel, just as the Torah is to us today.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Ti 3:16-17 NKJV.


Posted in Religion | Leave a Comment »

The Nalgene Danger

Posted by jbharp on March 15, 2007

A friend passed along some information to me this week about the ever-so trendy Nalgene bottle. These things are extremely common here in Colorado. Almost everyone has one, even if they aren’t an outdoorsy type.
Be Afraid!

The article discusses the harmful affects of a chemical in the plastic bottles, bisphenol A (BPA). Also, the use of harsh detergen which can remove BPA from the plastic. Altough there are other sites that insist on the products safety.
Drink Up!

I will continue to use my Nalgene bottles for a few reasons..
1) Majority rules: After an unclaimed Nalgene showed up in my kitchen a few months ago and a super-size Nalgene from my Brother at Christmas, I now own six Nalgene bottles. You might reply “Oh, one for each day of the week, makes sense.” Neah. I usually use one for a entire week. Hopefully it get’s washed and is put back at the end of the line, but I do have my favorites.
2) It’s only as clean as what’s inside: Nearly three summers ago I hiked up the back side of Mt Princeton with the dogs and a friend. It was a bit tougher than either of us expected, but we made it to the top as we finished the last of our water. The descent was long and dehydrating. So we rejoiced when we crossed our first stream. No filter. No iodine pills. Just clean, fresh mountain water.
3) They say a dog’s mouth is cleaner: I usually take CJ and Charlie with me on runs and hikes, packing enough water for us all. I have a handly little plastic bowl that I use to give them a drink. Every once in a while, though, I’ll manage to forget this bowl. Well, you know what I do. Hey, I’m not going to let my dogs go thirsty. (A quick side note – To anyone who has ever used my Nalgene bottles, know that I always wash them after the dogs use them. Or…I have only let the dogs use one of my many Nalgenes. You can tell yourself which ever one makes you feel better). So if the dogs can handle any harmful BPA stuff, then so can I.

Yes, I’ll keep on drinking out of my nalgene bottles. However, I may stop washing them in the dishwasher with the harsh detergent. Or I may just stop using detergent altogether.

***This post and the links attached to it may contain some invalid, irrational, and/or illogical propositions, arguments, and conclusions.***

Posted in Outdoor | 4 Comments »

My First Minyan…almost

Posted by jbharp on March 13, 2007

From the website Judaism 101, a note about the minyan. 

A complete formal prayer service cannot be conducted without a quorum of at least 10 adult Jewish men…This prayer quorum is referred to as a minyan (from a Hebrew root meaning to count or to number). Certain prayers and religious activities cannot be performed without a minyan. This need for a minyan has often helped to keep the Jewish community together in isolated areas.

I went to the Thursday morning minyan at Temple Shalom last week. But according to the description above it wasn’t quite a minyan. The number 10 is based on Abraham’s intercession for Sodom in Genesis 18, when he plead with God to spare the city if 10 righteous people are found. But on Thursday morning with only six people initially present and eventually growing to eight, the headcount never reached the double digit threshold. Women were included in the count. However, I was not.

It was explained to me that portions of the prayer service could not be conducted unless there were at least 10 people present, and I was kindly told that I could not be counted since I was not Jewish (righteous). After the eighth person came in, glances towards the door kept hoping for more partakers as we went through the portions of the service that were permitted with less than 10 present.

When the eighth Jewish person came in, a quite exclamation came from a lady sitting in front of me, “Oh good. We only need one more.” A quick, non-threatening correction came from her neighbor, “No. Two more. We can’t count Jared.” I was’t hurt from this. Though I am not Jewish, scripture tells me that I have been made right (Act 13.39, Rom 4.5).

The prayer service lasted about 45 minutes. I visited with a man briefly after the conclusion, telling him that I was Christian and came to the service because of my interest in Judaism. He told me the difference in the two religions is very simple to understand. Basically, Paul took the establishment of Judaism, told the Jews that if they believed in Jesus all of their sin would be taken away, and the law is now useless. That was the end of the conversation as we all sat down for a small breakfast.

The breakfast consisted of sandwich rolls with cheese and some chocolate mini-donuts. For 30 minutes I sat eating, listening to a few of them talking about their families and work. Half way through my cheese sandwich as I pulled away a bite, my teeth also pulled out a half eaten piece of paper that wrapped the slice of cheese. Quickly grabbing the paper and wading it up, I hoped no one saw me. If they did, no one said anything. As I left the temple that morning I would love to say my thoughts were “spiritual,” but I found myself wondering if paper was kosher.

Posted in Religion | 2 Comments »

Edna Just Got Expensive

Posted by jbharp on March 5, 2007

Nearly every other Wednesday morning over the last two years I’ve eaten “The Classic Mayor” omelet (tomatoes, mushrooms, and a generous helping of black pepper) with chicken, while joining two friends for breakfast. Typically, they both order “Edna the Egglady” (an omelet with three types of cheeses) with ham. On our plates next to a mound-like omelet are a pile of potatoes, a small slice of cantaloupe, and an English muffin that is soaked in butter equal to it’s weight. One week we actually all decided to order something different, and came back a few weeks later briefly discussing change for the sack of change. What a horrible idea. Ever since then we hold steadfast to our normal orders.

This is one of the best places in Colorado Springs for breakfast. I’m not completely confident in saying that though, because I honestly haven’t tried many other breakfast joints. The quality of food and friendly staff at The Omelet Parlor are so superb, that my friends and I have not ventured to any other location. We are quite content there. In addition to this, we meet at 6:30 in the morning which is directly in the middle of the everyday “breakfast happy hour” that promotes omelets at half price. My total ticket is less that $4 for a full meal that postpones all hunger well into the early afternoon. What a deal!!! The price amazing. That is until recently.

Last November, Coloradans voted in favor of an amendment that not only increased minimum wage at the beginning of 2007, but it will also up the amount in years to come. It appears that we are already seeing the affects from this amendment. My omelet now cost $0.50 more than before and this is after the half-price tally. Other restaurants have notably increased their prices too. I can handle this slight increase, but this shows the predictions of opponents to Amendment 42 coming true.

As I was at the register paying my bill, I found myself quickly debating whether I should adjust my gratuity for the extra expense of the meal. I wondered how many other people had done that, and thought the $0.50 tip loss for each customer wouldn’t nearly make up for the $0.80/hour raise my waitress received due to the workings of the amendment.

If you’re in the mood to exercise your brain, here are two sites about Amendment 42. I was just looking over them and found the differing arguments interesting. Can you spot the fallacies? I’ll make some comments later as I read through them a bit more.
For & Against

Meanwhile, this amendment is affecting every statewide restaurant. Thus, The Omelet Parlor should continue being the best food at the best price. Even though the Mayor and Edna are more expensive, I’ll still be meeting at The Omelet Parlor every other Wednesday morning for breakfast. And if you are ever visiting Colorado Springs, I’ll be happy to treat you to breakfast if you’re willing to get there before the “breakfast happy hour” ends at 7:00 (sorry, offer does not apply for local residents).

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments »