Thursday, October 27, 2011

Circumcision, Elderly Singers, and Capstone Plans

Happy Thursday! It's very rainy today, and possibly snowy in the somewhat-near future (the forecast suggests).

I have one important update relating to my Jewish Studies capstone - earlier today, after my JS 117 class (Narratives of the Hebrew Bible) I met with Prof. Fox to discuss possible independent study/capstone projects. Because I am looking to go into either hospice or chaplaincy work following my time at Clark, I hope to ultimately pursue topics in this area regarding my capstone. Upon brief discussion with Prof. Fox, he deemed it probable for me to examine biblical passages & midrash relating to illness and dying. It seems we will meet throughout the semester, ending with a thirty to forty page paper concerning these topics.

I am fairly excited, both because I am very interested in these two topics (& it will give me a good head-start into the process of entering these fields) and because Prof. Fox is a professor with whom I've had many classes and enjoy the teaching style of. 

Today I will spend some time working on my circumcision presentation, due one week from today in SOC 203 (American Jewish Life). I am thinking of organizing my presentation (and subsequently the paper) according to this rough outline:
1. Overview of presentation (aka table of contents)
2. Definition of circumcision (what is it? why do we do it?)
            a. origins (inclusion of biblical texts and tradition) 
            b. when was it accepted into American culture and adopted as a tradition beyond Jewish custom?
3. How & why has this custom changed over time?
            a. female reactions (baby-naming ceremonies, puncturing of the hymen) 
            b. male reactions (hopefully including quotes from the film Private Dicks: Men Exposed)
4. How do these changes extend to remark on broader patterns of American Jewish life?
            a. maintenance of tradition / adoption into a broader culture
            b. personal dissonance with tradition & its implications beyond religion
            c. empowerment (feminism, masculinity, choice)

That's all I have for now! I'm sure that as I continue to do research, my outline will shift. 

One last thing to mention - in my COPACE (The Final Chapter) course yesterday we watched a lovely film called Young@Heart. I am personally infatuated with the elderly in general, making this one of the best things I've ever seen. It's a film that focuses on a chorus of elderly folk, following their daily lives as they work to prepare for a concert (if anyone wants to get me the greatest birthday present ever, please purchase me tickets to one of their shows). One of their music videos, showed briefly in the film, can speak to some of society's discomfort with the elderly (and the proximity of death). Is everyone familiar with the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated"? Young@Heart's version is pretty close competition. 

Watch the movie trailer here (and then see the movie if you are fond of 1. the elderly or 2. covers of classic rock songs):

I hope everyone has a lovely Thursday!

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