23 March 2009

My Thesis Is Ready For the Shoe!

My thesis is in the shoe! Read on to learn the lessons of the shoebox...

In the mid-1990s, I was a student at Ramblewood Middle School (wow, that is one annoying website...) in Coral Springs, FL, as my older brothers were before me, and my younger followed before they rezoned him. I had a terrific experience at Ramblewood.

One of my favorite teachers was my science teacher, Mr. A. He was actually the first person to show me an internet search, on something called Gopher. He was the teacher who gave me Diet Cokes whenever he made a joke at my expense. Not a day went by without me getting a DC, and I loved his jokes. Also, this explains my love of DC a little. He called me [color] shirt, based on whatever I was wearing. When we studied genetics, and it was revealed that I had no earlobes, he had everyone in the class point and laugh. I never felt so noticed, happily, as I did in Mr. A.'s class.

Mr. A. also taught us how to balance chemical equations, and this is the single-most lasting lesson I learned at RMS, except for maybe my passionate commitment to English grammar. When we learned how to balance equations, Mr. A. taught us to check and double-check, and then write a special symbol over the bi-directional arrows that connect the first side of the equation to the second.

Mr. A. explained that during the Gulf War, his classes were filling shoeboxes to send to soldiers, with supplies and candy and notes, and his classes added something extra - sheets with balanced equations. Once they were sure the equations were balanced, they would draw a circled "SB" for shoebox, indicating satisfactory completion, and put the sheets in the boxes for the soldiers. I liked the "SB" because it was also my initials.

By the time I was in the class, we weren't sending boxes to soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait, but we were still confirming the completion of our equation balancing by writing "SB" and calling them "ready for the shoe."

This phrase stuck with me, and since then, I have said often that something is "ready for the shoe" at the end of a project or assignment, to resounding blank stares.

Today, I will turn in my thesis on Israel Education. It is 132 pages. Each curricular unit ended up being 30ish pages, and the rest of the paper is my literature review. After 2 years, 2 thesis advisors, 2 grad programs (Davidson and visiting at Hebrew U), 2 camps (plus FJC and the Berk), 2 flash drives, an ocean and a lot of complaining, I'm turning in my thesis. Now pdf'ed, I can say:

My Thesis Is Ready For the Shoe!

15 March 2009

Of Blessed Memory...

William Davidson, the naming donor of my fabulous school, the William Davidson Graduate School at JTS, has passed away at 86 years of age.

I never met the man I dubbed Uncle Bill (a nickname that is now a common saying among all Davidson students), but I heard he was a kind, giving man. He also has been rumored to be seen in tracksuits, which is so cool, and makes sense, because he owned more than one basketball team. According to wikipedia, he was the stepfather of the actress who played Ava on Grey's Anatomy.

He was a big Jewish philanthropist, donating to places I love, such as Hadassah Ein Karem, JTS, and The Kotel. I pointed out to my friend / Jerusalem roommate Allison that Uncle Bill accomplished so much, because he bought the Kotel! OK, he helped fund the excavation of the Southern Wall, but still. What part of the kotel was named after YOU?

I am lucky to be graduating from Davidson this May as one of the many beneficiaries of his HUGE donation to my school. I sent him thank you letters, but I never got to shake his hand. Uncle Bill, you will be missed.

My Davidson Class - at the end of our three-week Visions and Voices of Israel trip - poses at the "Endowed by Uncle Bill" sign outside of Uncle Bill's Kotel.

At Uncle Bill's kotel, where men, women and children can all gather around the Torah in a pluralistic service.
Good times. (January 2007)

07 March 2009

Snapshots (snowstorm and thesis)

My camera isn't really working. It's sort of working, but much like my Nth-stage Dell, I am going to have to get me some new electronics over the course of the next few months. Will I get a Mac? What kind of camera do I want? Who knows?

What I do know is this: Last week there was a snowstorm. I had an HOUR LONG meeting about my thesis with my thesis wonderwoman on the phone, and then I went to play in the snow. Both of these things - the snowstorm (not surprising) and my meeting with thesis wonderwoman (surprising, as I was expecting her to tell me to start over and be ashamed of my writing, and she was like, "Rock on, SBB") - were terrific.

My camera worked for about 2 minutes before it turned itself off. I didn't take pictures of me in my thesis phone meeting, but before the camera died, I got these snow pictures:

A million little kids sledding just across the street from my apartment in Riverside Park.
I rather like Riverside Park. Now that my tush is better, I will rollerblade in Riverside Park.

Sara Beth B, snow angel.
Melanie joins me on my Riverside Snow Frolic.