One of the defining characteristics of Judaism is that it is a religion of life. It doesn't focus on the afterlife or some eternal reward, but is grounded in what we do here and now. There is little emphasis on martyrdom. We are meant to live for Hashem and Judaism, not die for it unless … Continue reading L’Chaim! To Life!!!
Last Wednesday, my husband had triple bypass open heart surgery. We were grateful to schedule his surgery after Rosh Hashanah and everything went smoothly. By Friday he was in the step down unit, out of the ICU and we prepared to spent Shabbos together in the hospital. As chance would have it, we wound up … Continue reading Shabbos on the Cardiac Floor…with Our Palestinian Nurse
A great catastrophe has happened in my local community. A Jewish man, his mind split into pieces, believed our Synagogue was on fire in the night when it was not. In addition to a lot of damage he did trying to put out the flames that were only in his own mind, he also took … Continue reading Burying Our Torahs
Yesterday, I sat in the waiting room at day surgery at one of the local hospitals, my lips whispering tehillim (psalms) as I waited to hear news of how my husband's test was going. He was having his fourth heart catheterization, a procedure that shows cardiologists how the arteries that supply blood to his heart … Continue reading Broken Hearted
When my daughter first got out of the mikvah after her conversion, she celebrated every tiny thing she did "as a Jew" for the first time. (I'm combing my hair...AS A JEW!!!) Actually, she still does! It was such a touching and sweet expression of joy. I tend to be focused more on fewer, bigger … Continue reading Elul Workbook! And…my first Elul as a Jew.
Yesterday, my husband and I wed again according to Jewish law and Lubavitch customs. It was a beautiful ceremony, full of meaning and a very emotional time for us and our family. My daughter cried openly and there were tears shed by my husband's family and even our community as they helped us celebrate this … Continue reading Beyond the Veil
It's been about 2 weeks since our family emerged from the mikvah and I've had a little time to rest and recover from the trip and all the kashering and toiveling of our kitchen. I'm still in the midst of planning our wedding, but I took a weekend off to attend a Jewish women's retreat … Continue reading What Changes After Conversion?
Once you've converted...you spend quite a bit of time at the mikvah, it seems or at least preoccupied with toiveling. Toiveling is the act of removing ritual impurity from a person or object and it requires a kosher mikvah. Conversion requires toiveling a person as do the laws of family purity, but anything that a … Continue reading Toiveling vs. Kashering
It's only a few steps down into the mikvah, but it's taking me days to really emerge. Around midday Monday, my children and I were each converted. My husband completed his second gerus l'chumrah right after and we began our first day as a whole, Jewish family...by searching for our car. My husband walked, puzzled, … Continue reading Emerging from the Mikvah
We always knew that my husband's great grandfather was a prominent Rabbi in Washington DC. We knew little more besides that he had fled Russia in one of the many pogroms there and that my husband's father had, sadly, had contact with that part of his family cut off when he was four years old … Continue reading Our Story Takes a Dramatic Twist
There are three groups of people mentioned repeatedly in the Torah that the Jewish people are reminded to be careful to be kind to: converts, widows, and orphans. To me, the one commonality these groups all share is that they lack much or all of the support of a Jewish family. In some ways, I'm … Continue reading Converts, Widows, and Orphans
We have our mikvah date and just about a week left before it arrives. It's a unique place to be in, where we have just one more week as non-Jews and my husband has one more week as a safek. So...what goes on in this time period between when a conversion candidate has been approved … Continue reading The Space Between