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I want to write something long and thoughtful about the Mourner's Kaddish and the problems it presents for an atheistic Jew such as myself, especially in concert with the amazing powers of ritual and tradition, but I know I won't get around to writing such a piece for quite a while, if ever, so in the mean time, I'll ask all the appropriate y'all... what do you do about this?

(The very short form is that the Jewish prayer for the dead says nothing at all about the dead and instead spends all its time praising God. I didn't really /get/ this until years after it was seared in to me as the Thing You Say when remembering the deceased and anything else _feels_ wrong. I've looked at various Humanistic versions of the Kaddish and none of them feel like What You Say... but
Exalted and hallowed be God's great name
in the world which God created, according to plan.
May God's majesty be revealed in the days of our lifetime
and the life of all Israel -- speedily, imminently, to which we say Amen.

Blessed be God's great name to all eternity.

Blessed, praised, honored, exalted, extolled, glorified, adored, and lauded
be the name of the Holy Blessed One, beyond all earthly words and songs of blessing,
praise, and comfort. To which we say Amen.

- to quote 90% of it - is not what I'm looking for, similarly to how Ecclesiastes 3 (To every thing (Turn, turn, turn)...) isn't, either.
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(Is there a way to get DW to link to LJ users instead of changing <lj user=...> tags in to (effectively) dw user=?)

I have a pile of partial thoughts here that I've been trying to put together since Saturday.
Failing to have had them coalesce, I'll just try to get some of them down here now, and let you - my far more coherent readers - figure out what I'm trying to say. :)

So, Mom and I went to see Arlo Guthrie's annual thanksgiving concert at Carnegie Hall, this year featuring Pete Seeger - currently 93 and in somewhat better voice than he's been the last couple of times I've heard him.

The thing that struck me, sitting in a _full_ Carnegie Hall, where we're all singing, having been told by Pete to sing - and as we all know, when Pete says sing, you sing - is that there wasn't a lick of irony in the singing of Good Night Irene, Walk That Lonesome Valley, Turn Turn Turn (with verses for kids that Pete wrote ~50 years ago and only recently rediscovered), This Land Is My Land, and so on. That as much as a huge current in the current culture says that you can't enjoy that sort of song genuinely any more, that's just not true in a room with Pete Seeger ...And I'm tearing up writing about Pete as I can't help but think of how much poorer the world will be when he passes. He seemed certain he wasn't going to make his centenary when it was joked about on stage (as much of what Arlo was performing was Woodie's songs as part of HIS centenary) but the world is SO MUCH a better place for his being in it, and I can only hope that we can maintain what he's done after he's gone.

And for me, a huge part of that is the ability to sing songs like that, genuinely and with feeling...

(And Arlo and Family are /consummate/ professionals, as Jackie (Arlo's wife, half the band's mom, the 4 featured singers' grandma) died of (Fuck...) cancer in mid-October...)


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May 2017

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