Wrap your brain around this one.

M.I.T. is known for its academic excellence and really smart people. And time travel conventions.

Aaaack!Apparently, the Time Travel Convention was today. But the PR machine didn’t really get moving on this one in advance until this weekend. Which is fine. Why? Because this isn’t the “first annual” Time Travel Convention. Technically, they point out on their website, all you need is one. “Time travelers from all eras could meet at a specific place at a specific time, and they could make as many repeat visits as they wanted.”

The FAQ page includes such topics as “Isn’t Time Travel Impossible?” and “I’m From the Future, and I’d Like to Attend.” They also tell you how you, the reader, can help to make sure that people in the future know about the Convention:

We need volunteers to publish the details of the convention in enduring forms, so that the time travelers of future millennia will be aware of the convention. This convention can never be forgotten! We need publicity in MAJOR outlets, not just Internet news. Think New York Times, Washington Post, books, that sort of thing. If you have any strings, please pull them.

Write the details down on a piece of acid-free paper, and slip them into obscure books in academic libraries! Carve them into a clay tablet! If you write for a newspaper, insert a few details about the convention! Tell your friends, so that word of the convention will be preserved in our oral history! A note: Time travel is a hard problem, and it may not be invented until long after MIT has faded into oblivion. Thus, we ask that you include the latitude/longitude information when you publicize the convention.

Tonight on SNL, my neighbor Tina Fey said (and I’m paraphrasing because I couldn’t remember it exactly) that unfortunately, no one from the future attended because they already knew that the party sucked. Heh.

The donation button on their website was to raise funds for snacks. If only they had learned enough to promise “Free Palestinians.” Even Eric Cartman knew enough to promise “punch and pie.” (Want more on this story? Here’s the NY Times article on the subject…)

This isn’t Jewlicious per se on any kind of overt level. But we’ve already had a Jewlicious conference and a Jewlicious birthright bus is rolling out at the end of the month…what if Jewlicious had its own Time Travel Convention? Who do you think would come from the past? Would Laya finally meet Theodor Herzl and book him as a special guest speaker for birthright trips? Would CK start a tempestuous romance with Golda Meir? Would Muffti finally be able to commune with the great Greek philosophers and engage in a dialogue with philoso-scientists from the 40th Century who proved the existence of God? And what about the future of diaspora Judaism? Would we discover that all the movements had merged into some sort of mega-tribe of Conformadoxystructionists? Would the Jewish educational system of the future be Holocaust-based or Israel-based? Is cheerleading outlawed or encouraged in yeshiva environments? Are boys still not to be trusted? And is there still a “shidduch crisis”?

Of course, Judaism could also have vanished completely, along with other organized religion, or because of in-fighting over copepods in the drinking water. But I’m not going to think about that. Not without punch and pie.

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.


  • For some reason i thought the link to the NY Times aritcle was about Cartman promising punch and pie…and i thought, that’s bizarre. I’ve been writing papers all day, it’s taken its toll.

    This is an interesting story, and Esther, your observations about organized religion are very interesting. I remeber a discussion with a friend of mine after 9/11, wherein he picked up the Qu’ran and said “In 5,000 years this book will mean nothing and this whole mess will have been for fucking nothing”, and it’s interesting to think about. Judaism has lasted 5,000 years but it could be argued that the world has developed more rapidly each century. Now i’m rambling, and i thought there was going to be punch and pie offered, and clearly there is not, so i will finish my paper 🙂
    Vive le resistance!

  • Time travel is a long debated philosophical issue that really should be discussed by scientists. However, we can say somethings. Even if Time travel becomes possible, the things that have happened are still in the past. Thus, if CK is going to have a relationship with Golda Meir, it’s already happened, albeit with future CK who has travelled back. If Muffti is going to talk to the Greek philosophers, he’s actually already done it. Unfortunately, the Greeks have no record whatsoever of a guy talking to them who referred to himself in the 3rd person. So Muffti isn’t very hopeful about that possibility 🙂

    Oh, and the one other thing we can be sure of. No future philo-scientists will ever ‘prove’ the existence of God. You can’t prove false things.

  • First, wanted to apologize to Elon for giving his brain the impression that I was offering punch and pie. Sorry, dude. You’re on your own for snackage.

    Muffti, I see what you’re saying. But isn’t truth and falsehood dependent on circumstances and knowledge accrued at the time? Therefore our current understanding of truth seems objective and unchanging now, but in the future, things may be proven or disproven based on discovered and interpreted knowledge…

    Plus, there’s that whole “split in the space-time continuum” that Doc Brown spoke about, wherein there could be two realities occurring at once, permitting current CK to go back in time, have said affair with GM (the other one…) and thereby change the reality that we’re in now.

    PS: Hashem can travel through time and prove you don’t exist. Or send a cyborg back to the current day to eliminate Osama bin Laden. So there.

  • Well, Muffti supposes that that depends on several factors…mostly, however, on whether or not you buy a branching picture of time or a non branching model. Whatever else is true, however, you ought not use Back to the Future (I, II or III) as coherent models of time travel. Seriously.

    Oh yeah, and:

    Muffti, I see what you’re saying. But isn’t truth and falsehood dependent on circumstances and knowledge accrued at the time? Therefore our current understanding of truth seems objective and unchanging now, but in the future, things may be proven or disproven based on discovered and interpreted knowledge…

    Errr…Muffti is pretty sure that truth and falsity are basic (though he has no proof of such). However, even if truth is dependant on circumstance and knowledge (whatever that might mean), then Muffti can be pretty damned sure there is no God. His circumstances and knowledge make it true.

  • But if my circumstances and knowledge differ from yours, I may know (but, like you, be unable to prove) that there is a God. (I’ve never argued philosophy before…how’m I doin’?)

  • Snacks should be covered by Esther. She makes mean chocolate brownies. Sorry you missed ’em Muffti.

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