Through our shul, we ended up with a lovely man who was looking for a meal. His name is Avner Falk, and he is psychohistorian, political psychologist, and general psychologist. Among other titles, he has written books such as "A Psychoanalytic Biography of Theodor Herzl".
Now it is by startling coincidence that this man ended up at our house for a meal on Rosh Hashana; my wife is doing her PhD on an analysis of mythic narrative in midrash, particularly Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer, an eighth century text. They had several areas of interest that overlapped, in that they both studied historical figures through a psychological lens.
Now it is a further startling coincidence that at the same meal we had invited some friends of friends of ours, Daniel and Hava Boyarin. Daniel founded a large area of Jewish studies at Berkeley, and has written, among other works, "Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash". Rachel invited him as he was in the country and was, as a favor, reviewing parts of Rachel's thesis. Hava also has a PhD in something.
By further startling coincidence, Avner had read some of Daniel's stuff, and Daniel had read some of Avner's stuff, and neither had met before.
It is not at all coincidental that our friends were also invited, Mel and Dina Kline. Mel has done literary analysis of many biblical texts, and so on. And his wife is also smart.
So there I was, little old me and my obsession with board games and blogging seated aside five intellectual biblical scholars.
And they talked about: movies, old jokes, cooking, and kids.
I only managed to get in two games this holiday: Havoc and The Menorah Game. I taught them both to new players, my kid's cousins. Both are simple games, easy to teach new players, and work well with three players. And are fun.
And I won them both. Experience rules.
Israel has had a few fatal train crashes lately, so it was thankfully amusing to read about this one. Last line of the article: "The condition of the camel was unclear."
Three days of play in public happened last weekend in New York City, the Come Out and Play Festival. It looks like it was a lot of fun. Here's a report.