50.01/ Week fifty, June 26-July 2 2021, begins here.
#TzomKal, easy fast, for #ShivaAsarBTammuz

Week 49 below
50.02/ File this under "horrifying but not surprising." @AdamSerwer has been doing great work and I look forward - in a clinical, grin & bear it way - to reading his book.

@AdamSerwer 50.03/ Barukh Dayan ha-Emet. My shul just informed us that Rabbi Reuven Bulka z'l has passed away. Rabbi Dr. Bulka was a psychotherapist & shul rabbi who exemplified a life dedicated to his community and to Torah u-Madda. May his memory be for a blessing.
50.04/ I just realized that what I love the most about "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman is that it's what Springsteen songs want to be but doesn't have - a superlative vocalist that matches the instrumentation.

I will be taking no questions.
50.05/ A problem with managing anxiety by trying to understand everything is that once you do, and everything makes sense, the bad things continue to exist because the structures that enable the bad things aren't solvable by one guy with answers.
50.06/ I've noticed that disabilities are often found in clusters in a person. There could be genetic/biological reasons for co-morbidity, but IMO it's also from "square peg abrasion": society is designed for round pegs so people with uncommon needs get physically worn down.
50.07/ "Perfect is the enemy of the good" is true. Not only is perfection unattainable, but getting close to perfection requires evolution which by definition means trial and error.

Attaining perfection requires failure, false starts, blind alleys. This is comforting to me.
50.07b/ Great follow-up here: "practice makes progress!"

As we know from science: bad results tell truths, too. Knowing what doesn't work is part of knowing what does, and why.

50.08/ I just showed this to my wife, a newly minted Associate Dean. Her job should evidently be protected by the 8th Amendment.
50.08b/ Re: "Write a horror story for your industry using just four words"
My brother (NIH scientist) @acypess suggests:

"Grant was not discussed"

& for now I, pulpit rabbi, suggest:

"The eruv is down"
@acypess 50.09/ Very sobering thread, with links to news sources, about the immediate catastrophic effect of climate change.
50.10/ Yes indeed (reposting pic to add alt-text) and her follow-up is right on.
[Picture of famous actor fr...
50.11/ I've said before that I'd be a rich man if I used my PhD - and even more, my ordination - to concoct rationalizations that would allow powerful people to be cruel.

A step beyond that is concocting reasons for revenge, as DW correctly describes:
50.12/ This is frightening and insane. An attack in broad daylight, with a gun and knife, in the middle my old community in Boston.

Please pray for Shlomo Ben Zlata Miriam.

50.13/ Thread I just wrote about my first day back in shul without a mask.
50.14/ This is a fun thread and, ironically, the review for "For the Love of the Game" is accurate! It's such a good baseball movie if you just keep it to the baseball game.

50.15/ This is what social science should do: confirm common sense, especially in the face of cultural cruelty.

Physically attacking a child - especially your own, who loves you and trusts you to keep them safe - warps their reality & emotional health.
50.16a/ #ReshetKeshet Re: 50.13 above, about "pikuach nefesh" - the halakhic requirement to preserve life over nearly every other commandment - today's #DafYomi (Yoma 82) & onwards is the key source & discussion for the mitzvah.
50.16b/ And, so I won't be remiss, Yoma 81b is one of the places in the Talmud that discusses Indian food (an "electuary from the Hindu place"). It's likely medicine made with ghee & honey.
See: medicinetraditions.com/electuaries.ht…
50.17/ "Reverse racism" is bad-faith nonsense b/c bigotry is a problem of power not of belief.

Hatred is a social problem when it can be systematically acted out with violence & oppression: punching down.

Note, punching up in hate can also be indistinguishable from self-defense
50.18/ This really hits hard for me like a long-forgotten vendetta. I remember being shocked by Miers' nomination and I opposed Alito b/c of his clear cruelty but just thinking about how much better the court would be w/o the doll-eyed Alito... wow.
50.19/ I'm excited about all the first time non-Orthodox #DafYomi learners who'll see tomorrow for their first time, in context, that halakha provides for patient autonomy to override impassive doctors. “The heart knows the bitterness of its soul”
50.20/ This was a great thread that taught me quite a lot about the political/military purposes of freeing the slaves in the Civil War, i.e. it turned the war from one of 'aggression' to 'liberation.'
50.21/ I'm catching up on my thread reading (one of the reasons I enjoy the threaders, they become an easily accessible, linkable, library of a person's work) and this from May by @lara_putnam is really important & true.

50.22/ My wife calls this a "Happy Birthday Miss Jones" type of question based on the great Electric Company cartoon:

Why? Because social conventions do the job. They're safe and effective. Originality is unnecessary & ill-advised.
50.23/ There are two types of people: (1) those who care about the consequences of their actions and will change their ideas & behavior if they discover they are wrong, and (2) those who don't.

Even if you have saintly ideas about creating a utopia, if you're in group 2, go away
50.24/ Excellent explanation about sampling bias in this cartoon
50.25/ This was a helpful thread from a resident in the Pacific Northwest about how the #HeatWave2021 feels like on the ground and in general what it feels to suffer through a climate-change catastrophe
50.28/ Absolutely. Trump (ym'sh) - like all populist demagogues - grabs power by giving voice to people who want the worst things on earth.

50.29/ So very true. And I appreciate the stark phrasing.
50.30/ My 12 year old daughter is a really good artist (objective opinion alert). She painted this today and we're thinking of making it into a set of family stationary. #ProudFather Acrylic painting on canvas ...
50.31/ #ReshetKeshet. Quick #Pinchas lesson from last year. Moshe asks God for a proper leadership transition in 27:12-21. My kids suggested it wasn't about replacing him but for Miriam because the previous passage 27:1-11 was about the Benot Tzelofchad. sefaria.org/Numbers.27.1?l…
50.32/ 100% right. That's why we need to describe things as 'structural' racism, not just racism. Just like climate change is about the system not the weather, racism is built into everything in our former slavery-defending republic.
50.33/ Just finished cooking for Shabbos and the days are getting shorter (narrator: one minute shorter than last week) so time to sign off. #ShabbatShalom everyone

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More from @JoshuaCypess

2 Jul
1/ Today was a big milestone day. My oldest had his first driving lesson, something that was put on hold for the pandemic (these poor kids growing up in this strained world), but a bigger step was that I was able to go maskless to shul.
2/ As of today, my whole nuclear family has had our full course of the vaccine (#PfizerFamilyForTheWin) and my area doesn't have community spread, so it was safe (enough) to go maskless.

I had planned to do this in order to demonstrate an object lesson.
3/ I have no idea if people actually look at me for guidance. But being frum, & kal v'chomer a rabbi, means that all of my behavior should be an object lesson.

Even more: I'm a sociologist of health, which means I need to teach/act out lessons about medical halakha.
Read 11 tweets
25 Jun
1/ Erev Shabbat #Balak, esp. when the fast of #Tammuz is on Sunday, carries a special memory for me and this pandemic year(s) makes me feel especially nostalgic, so here goes.

In 2018 my wife was given a grant to do research in Europe which allowed us to plan a summer trip.
2/ She spent the first week in Germany and then I joined her in England for a second week with the kids. Just in time, in turns out, for a historic heat wave. World travelers know that American air conditioning is unheard of in Europe. They're proud of it!
3/ My old yeshiva friend, Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, invited me to give a guest sermon at the Finchley Synagogue (aka Kinloss). That night was the 17th of Tammuz (and UK time to begin the fast was around 1am!)
Read 15 tweets
20 Jun
49.01/ Week forty-nine, June 19-25 2021, begins here.

Week 48 below
49.02/ 100%. I said this back in the day about dating as well. Only people dull to human pain and effort and/or those who lack functional life experience could say "how does it hurt?" with a straight face.

49.03/ For you music fans, esp. of early music played on period instruments, check out this great review of my wife's album "In the Salon of Madame Brillon: Music and Friendship in Benjamin Franklin’s Paris" by The Raritan Players (Rebecca Cypess, dir.) earlymusicamerica.org/web-articles/c…
Read 18 tweets
13 Jun
48.01/ Week Forty-eight, June 12-18 2021, begins here.

Week 47 below.
48.02/ Not popping champagne corks yet, but the large person with horns could sing at any moment to usher in a post-Bibi Israel
48.03/ Has Bibi taken credit for inventing the question mark?
Read 56 tweets
11 Jun
1/ Thread about a recent #ArtWar I had with my daughter. This game was taught to me by Rob Lebowitz (flickr.com/photos/lebocom…) 30 years ago when we were chavrutas in yeshiva. He's 100x the artist I am, but we worked well together.
2/ It's a "game" for usually 2 people sharing one paper. Player1 draws an item in the center. We called it the "cheftza" (we were in a Soloveitchik style yeshiva), but in English I now call it the Guffin, after MacGuffin.
3/ The Guffin can be anything and the game is basically an improv cartooning exercise. The goal of player1 is to defend the Guffin while player2 tries to destroy it.

The fun is in the creativity, humor, and art.
Read 24 tweets
6 Jun
47.01/ Week Forty-seven, June 5-11 2021, begins here.

Week 46 below
47.02/ Congratulations to my sister-in-law, @LeahCypess, on being nominated for a Nebula for her Novelette "Stepsister” (from F&SF 5-6/20).

I'm thinking of holding a press conference at Four Season's FantasyLandscaping to question to vote tallies.

47.03/ Totally agree with this. Basically, this is how McCain ended his career, and Romney knows this game too. It's what ego-driven politicians are supposed to know to do!

Read 44 tweets

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