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
I expected to be asked mind-twisting questions on kosher law...or Shabbos observance. In our first meeting with a Beis Din, 6 years ago before we moved to Alaska, I'd been asked some doozies. This time, though, it was different. Yes, they wanted to make sure we knew how to be observant, but the main focus … Continue reading Questions and Answers – How OUR Beis Din Went
Over a year ago, we sat in our Rabbi's office and he promised, honestly and earnestly, that our conversion journey would finally end in the mikvah the coming April. This April slipped by with little fanfare and drama, peacefully but busily, as we prepared for our move. At this point, there is no more timeline … Continue reading Preparing for Shavuos and the Conversion that Wasn’t
Why not pick up an old hobby while in the midst of moving chaos? Now, most normal people would probably think that now, our last dwindling month in the Greatland, is probably the least logical time for me to try to start running again after a 7-8 hiatus. Yet, somehow, it just felt right. So, … Continue reading Running in the Rush
It's a question I get asked often, particularly when non-Orthodox Jewish friends and family learn just how long our conversion has been taking. I've even had Orthodox friends on the more left side of the Orthodox spectrum question our dedication to Orthodox Judaism. My answer usually depends on how much time we have to talk. … Continue reading Why Orthodox Judaism? Why Not Another Type?
No, it's not THAT big news, but it is BIG! A cousin of mine has a son with a genetic illness. As part of working through his treatment, she and her parents recently had to have genetic testing. She knew that her mother is part Ashkenazi, but the surprising news...is that her father is too. … Continue reading BIG NEWS!!!
There is one great comfort in the long, dark Alaskan winter and that is that the odds of being eaten by a bear go down considerably. Bears hiberate during the winter, only occasionally stirring if there's a warm snap, but generally sleeping through the dark cold months in their dens beneath the snow. About the … Continue reading Eating Matzah as the Bears Awaken
Passover is an interesting holiday. It's one where traditions and customs really seem to come to the forefront in a way they don't always the rest of the year. From how stringent each family is about their cleaning and prep to what they will and won't eat on the holiday, there is so much variation, … Continue reading The Non-Gebrokts Non-Jews
This week is one of my favorite Jewish holidays. One of the very best things about Orthodox Judaism is that there are so many holidays and they're all so different in their observances and traditions. Purim is a particularly fun holiday for children, with costumes and candy galore. This year, though, as we read the … Continue reading Purim and Living Between Worlds
Orthodox Jewish conversion has a lot of fascinating quirks that a lot of people aren't aware of unless they've dealt with the process directly. One of them, which I mentioned in relation to my husband yesterday, is the fact that once you emerge from the Mikvah as an entirely new, Jewish person in the eyes … Continue reading Soon, My Children Will Not Be Mine
Last week, I traveled to the north slope of Alaska, about as far north as anyone can go, and I spent almost a week in an oil camp. This was probably the most unlikely place for an Orthodox conversion candidate. As part of my work there, I had to walk through every dorm room unless … Continue reading How a Trip to the Ends of the Earth Helped Me Make Peace with Christmas as a Jew
In this week's parsha, Yaakov famously wrestles with Esav's angel, gaining an injury and the name Israel. In the Torah, every nation has its own angel watching over it and we've already learned that Esav is destined to be a mighty nation in his own right. The struggle is dramatic and costs Yaakov, injuring his … Continue reading Parshas Vayishlach – Wrestling with Angels and New Names