It's open to all members, but most of those who sign up are men. This year, 7 out of forty were women, and this is actually more than usual. This would be my fifth time doing this.
This means "Foreign worship" - idolatry. And normally, I wouldn't be writing this post at all because I've done it before - I use an English Kehati (Kehati wrote the commentary) and it takes me a few nights, or a few hours of cramming. I all but finished it, in fact, on the night of Shavuot as something to learn while staying up all night. I saved the last mishnah for the day of the siyyum. Not necessary, but I thought it would be nice.
But Michael asked me to say something at the siyyum. He'd left the message while I was away, and we didn't respond until Tuesday, and he'd already found someone when I emailed him back, and the rabbi only wanted so many people to speak, so that was okay. And then he emailed me back and said that he wanted a feminine voice, and could I do three minutes? I said yes, figuring I had two weeks and not a problem.
The siyyum was, of course, this past Shabbos. Less than a week later. I read the last mishnah and tried to think of what to say, and then, on Friday, I couldn't find my book. And I went nuts and I couldn't figure it out and then Jonathan gave me an idea of where to look (is it between the beds? - it was!) and there the book was and I looked at it and I came up with a theme (practical laws, not philosophy *and* borders and boundaries - pretty much how all the mishnahs are.) So I went over my speech three times with Jonathan and once more on the way to the shul that afternoon - I found a way to put a lot of it in historical perspective, too. And it went over well. The rabbi made a point of telling me he enjoyed it - and he said the same to Jonathan.
I did go over three minutes, though. :(