Open Thread 1
Thanks for sending the article, I had run across it before. Here's some input: if you have 3 Jews in a room, you'll get about 6, maybe 7 different opinions on how the synagogue should be run. Conservative synagogues like this one in particular, because they try to stay middle-of-the-road, with orthodox (Chabad) on one end and Reform (no Hebrew, really feels like a Lutheran church) on the other. What that one rabbi said about women not being on the bimha (altar) has not been true for a couple of decades. Conservative synagogues have had women rabbis and cantors for at least 20 years -- I remember one as far back as 1989.
I am truly in awe of the conversion process here in San Miguel. Generally, Jews do not encourage conversion, as a matter of fact, in the USA they usually make you go see a shrink to sort out your true feelings, before converting. BUT: in the USA also a 6 months class suffices. None of this 2-year stuff, or you'd probably never have converts in the USA. Also, most people who convert in the USA do it to please prospective spouses, not because they believe it's the true religion for them. So yes, in the USA also you see crosses and Christmas trees in Jewish residences. I don't understand why the rabbi interviewed made such disparaging remarks. This SMA congregation's Hebrew far excels mine, and I studied in Israel for a while. Their chanting is excellent, and lay people actually study how to chant the Torah and are allowed to do so, they're doing a fine job. Even woman, fancy that! I'm a woman and I wouldn't dare take on that task. The rabbi's remark that they barely know the blessings (bracha) is absolutely incorrect. These Mexican converts take their Judaism a heck of a lot more serious than about 90% of US Jews.
Anyway -- so you were in Houston for Harvey, and you sold your house on the west side of the city? Several of my husband's "west side" relatives got flooded as badly as you, and they just walked away from their houses. Half the family now lives in a Greenway Plaza high rise (they have loads more money than we do, losing a house or two didn't hurt them). During Harvey I felt the first impact of that chemical spill on the northeast side of town. Since then, there have been innumerable incidents of chemical spills in nearby Pasadena and Deer Park. Just before we left, a ship loaded with unidentified chemicals capsized in the Houston ship channel, i.e. about 2 miles from our house. My migraines have become almost daily affairs. Our house is on the southeast side and so far it hasn't flooded. SO FAR. It's only a matter of time, though, as the floods come more frequently and hit different parts of town. Just after we left in early May, the west side got hit again, straight up to the north side. I'm trying to persuade my husband to do what you did: sell it while the selling is good. Once a house floods, you can kiss your investment good-bye.
I'm glad you know the problem with Houston, and you understand my concern about the US politics. I worry that this will not end well. I was born in Berlin in 1944 and saw exactly what a war does to a city and, above all, to people. My parents filled us in on the details, their apartment was bombed to the ground. I do not care to repeat that experience. So, I'm here, sticking my head into the sand, angry that the country I chose in 1970 is now turning into such a horrid mess.
But thank God for San Miguel de Allende! I feel safe here.