|hatam_soferet (hatam_soferet) wrote,|
@ 2006-01-01 09:32 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||calligraphy, limmud|
Limmud: fantastic. Yay Anglo-Jewry. I didn't end up going to all that many sessions, in the end, but I did spend a lot of time talking to people - some entirely random ones, and some Influential Figures with whom it was nice to get acquainted.
The text session I taught was ok - not terrible, but not good; I think it needs more vision, but it won't have vision until I have vision. The sefer Torah maintenance was fun - more a big conversation than a workshop, and there were some interesting people there who were involved with interesting Torahs, visiting which I am going to work into my next trip over here if at all possible.
I had the best fun teaching calligraphy. More people turned up than I wanted to teach, and I had to turn the extras away, which was sad, but those who came and stayed for all three sessions (that's a whole three and a half hours, chaps) did tremendous stuff. I had people choosing a text pretty early on and only learning the letters to write it, which makes sense when you think that it's all about practice really, so the more practice per letter the better, so everyone who came to all three sessions was able to take a text away with them at the end.
I think the best bit was Rivka, who I'm guessing was about twelve, learning aleph. She'd learned R and I and V and K, and was having awful trouble with A (don't ask me why she spells it with an aleph). So I took her through modifying it, bit by tiny bit, and it got better and better until it was absolutely cracking, and she looked at what she'd done and went "MUM! LOOK WHAT I DID!" - that was super! There were a lot of other Wow Moments, and I love it when my students have Wow Moments, but that was the most joyful.
At the end, they said nice things - several of them said it'd been their favourite class and the one they made the most effort to get to (yay!). One lady said that it was funny because even though I hadn't done any teaching per se (it's true; beyond making a huge quill out of paper and demonstrating its angle, I didn't address the whole group once) she'd learned more in those three hours than in any other calligraphy course she'd ever taken (yay!) and another one said that she really liked how I taught (I go round and help people stay on course), very one-on-one.
The 12-14s in Young Limmud wanted to have a calligraphy session, and I had twelve sets of kit for a series of sessions, nothing prepared for thirty teens in an hour's session, so I spent Wednesday afternoon improvising rapidly. Defining calligraphy as the art of presenting words using fine letters I had them trace letter outlines (thirty copies of this please, office, and don't stint the toner) and make phrases for themselves.* Thirty 12-14s tracing against the windows is quite something to see! Some of them wanted to write their names - nice; some of them wanted to write phrases like "I love dogs," also nice and easy; some of them wanted to write things like "I want your babies" or "Ben likes men," which I don't object to in principle, but have no idea how to say in colloquial Hebrew - the nuance is beyond me. It was a fun hour. Some of them did some jolly nice things.**
Most of the sessions I went to were either ones by scholars on feminism, or performing arts ones. I hardly ever see any live Jewish stuff, mostly because it's usually dreadfully cheesy and of no artistic merit, but at Limmud I'll give it a chance. I went to hear a chap called Noam Katz, who was lovely, and encountered one Akiva the Believer, who did extraordinary things with a tambourine (my opinion of Miriam goes up a long way if she did with hers what he did with his). I also went to Marcus Freed presenting the story of the apple in Eden via bibliodrama, which I did not realise would be a participatory class and had I, would not have gone, which is good because it was jolly jolly interesting. There were also a couple of girls, fiddle and accordion, playing klezmer-ish stuff, who were good fun and skilled, and a chappie who would have been fine had he been satisfied with being a Yiddish scholar but who unfortunately had delusions of grandeur and didn't realise that he performed like a third-rate parlour magician. Still, his rendering of "Summertime" in Yiddish - hysterically funny. Something about the way the taut Yiddish idiom and clipped vowels sit with the lazy, confident theme of the song. Yiddish is the language of "Oh God, everything's going wrong," and Summertime is not that kind of song at all!
* Normally I'd say the art of beautiful handwriting, but you can't say that and then ask people to use coloured pencils to trace letter outlines, not if you want them to take you seriously.
** Some of them buggered about and didn't do anything much, of course