I had two more of my classes for the first time yesterday. One is Intro to Islam, taught by Professor Chris Taylor, a rather reserved, ordinary sort of fellow. The other is Modern Jewish History, taught by Professor Alan Nadler.
Nadler is quite a character. I met him first in April, during my overnight visit. He described himself to me then as an Orthodox Rabbi (a rather impressive one, I was later told) who woke up one morning and said, “Well, this probably all bullshit.” Sadly his only marketable skills are his knowledge of Judaism and Jewish History. So here he is teaching those subjects at Drew University.
During that first meeting he also berated me for wanting to go to HUC. “No, no, no,” he said. “You go to Yeshiva University first. Learn how to do it right. Then, go rebel with those crazy guys.”
Yesterday morning he appeared in class about ten minutes late. Shocking. He entered, announcing “I’ve got your syllabi here, but I forgot to staple them. I’m not feeling very Jewish today. I’m feeling quite Christian today, actually, so I’m going to staple these for you.” Everyone laughed. Then he said, much to the delight of the students who have had Nadler before, “I’m starting with this stuff already!” Later on in class he pleaded with us not to use the term Diaspora. “Oh, come on! Everyone has a diaspora these days. Every town in New Jersery has twelve diasporas. Go to Newark, you get like forty-seven diasporas!” At one point during class, we brainstormed a list of things that seventeenth century Catholic Poles probably thought about Jews. It looked like this:
Horns and Tails, Men Menstruate
Nadler announced that he would be leaving it on the blackboard for the next professor.
In other news, I suck at praying daily. Since I said that I was going to do that, I have done three out of six days. Two times I did shacharit and one time I did minchah. I’m going to go pray now.