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2004-09-30 - 9:03 a.m.

Coffee, Exams, Sukkot

I came home last night to one of those tell-tale UPS slips sitting on the stairs up to my apartment. I think this means that my new-fangled highly intelligent coffee machine has arrived at last!! And I MISSED IT!!! sigh.

UPS requires a signature for this pickup (not was a hefty sum of money), and they say that they will arrive anytime after 5pm. ooo...tonight I will put in Italian opera and drink drink drink from my Italian coffee machine! (and then stay awake all night, maybe I'll rethink this plan).

In today's class I'll be talking about pressure and wind, but to a greatly reduced class. Apparently today is Sukkot, one of the minor Jewish holidays during which a temporary dwelling (hut) is built (in the wilderness) and the harvest is celebrated. Hopefully a joke not in bad taste, but kind of a Jewish Oktoberfest or Jewish Thanksgiving, as it seems. Very cool. Disappointing that it is a minor holiday. We should all celebrate and be thankful for what the earth gives us on a more regular basis, I think.

I was shocked to learn about it, though, because I grew up in a rather Jewish neighborhood, and yet I have no recollection of this holiday. (B! how could you not tell me???) Admittedly, I now live next door to one of the most densely populated orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in the country...

ANyway, it got me to thinking about the myth of American Thanksgiving. Right now I am reading a book entitled "Lies My Teacher Told Me" all about the failings of US history books - about the inherent Eurocentrism (and racism) that we are taught as children. I had known some of the facts before, but the book is very compelling and seems very well-researched.

I have known that the first American Thanksgiving is one of the myths we are taught - but somehow I would just like to remember the holiday in the context of being with loved ones and giving thanks for what we are given. No need to invoke happy Pilgrims and Indians (who indeed didn't really have a reason to give thanks, did they?). I'd rather keep it as a rare moment when we take stock in our lives and find what's good in it.

Anyway, a long diversion from Sukkot and handing back exams...not so far from the idea that I am soooo thankful for my Italian coffee machine!

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