Time to update life.
I have been busy trying to stay afloat on readings. This week especially. There have been, however, two and a half very important and cool events that happened this week that I would love to talk about.
First off, I was invited by my Religion: the Social and Political Context lecturer to a trip he planned to Hendon Central. I love this lecturer; he is just funny to interact with (he is from Russia, short, and often stumbles on his sentences). I thought his invitation was incredibly nice and I was really glad I decided to go. The trip to Hendon Central was to focus on the Jewish community living there. I thought it would be interesting to attend, especially because of my secret fondness for Judaism (Islam is slowly taking a backseat!), and also the fact that I live near Golders Green, which itself is a rather vibrant Jewish community. Not only did we go to a synagogue, but we toured the area a bit.
The synagogue was especially interesting. I’ve been to many before, do not get me wrong; but this one was a different style and discussion. We went to Hendon United Synagogue, which is a “modern Orthodox” (perhaps more on the style of Conservative Judaism moreso). Our discussion was less theologically focused and more sociologically focused (which I loved, because I’ve learned too many times the basic precepts of Judaism). For example, we discussed how the bar/bat mitzvah’s accounted as a social process, and how a bat mitzvah theoretically always existed in Orthodox/Conservative communities, and it is only the ritual that accompanies it which developed later that is prominent. We discussed the Jewish communities ties to the greater London community, and the focus on charity as seen through volunteer work (giving of time) and charity of money. Overall it was an incredibly experience; it definitely makes me more interested in Judaism (who knows, I may just drop Confucian/Chinese religion altogether and go in that avenue!).
Secondly, today, I went to a play. This play was Neil LaBute’s newest, premiering this month in fact: In a Forest, Dark and Deep. It was full of secrets, mysteries, sibling rivalry, possible alluded incest and so much more. It starred Matthew Fox (from Lost) and Olivia Williams (from Dollhouse). I never watched Lost, so I was especially surprised a Fox’s ability to act. He definitely stole the show (although Williams’ was not bad, but I will comment that her US accent forced her to speak a bit more forcefully, which made it sound like she was screaming all the time – but overall, she was lovely; she definitely had the harder of the roles, and I think she did it really well – her tears felt totally genuine). The play was about two siblings, who are seemingly estranged, who deal with a bunch of secrets as they clean up an old house in the woods. I thought it was wonderful, in fact, I bought the theatre booklet AND the actual play book. It also sparked up some interesting ideas for maybe a conference paper (Fox’s character, Bobby, consistently focuses on this idea of truth and sin and morality). All in all, I loved it.
Now for my half; on Tuesday, I went to go to an Amnesty International International Women’s Day event. It was in Camden Town, however, it turned out to be really lame, so I bailed early. However, I realised how cool Camden Town is – I later explored it a bit. It has this MASSIVE market with all sorts of vintage clothes and food stalls (I definitely want to go back), but also has the London Zoo and the Jewish Museum. I am going to head to the Zoo tomorrow, because I bet it definitely makes the St. Louis Zoo pale in comparison.
(Title comes from the 2011 play entitled “In a Forest, Dark and Deep” by Neil LaBute.)