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!!!
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
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
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
Years ago, in 2011, I traveled to Israel. At the time, we thought that we were close to completing our conversion process and it was important to me to see Israel before that happened. I wanted to see the land of my prayers and see if I felt a connection to it. To me, to … Continue reading What Israel Means to Me as a Non-Jew in the Conversion Process
I came across a great quote today that stuck in my head. My manager at work is one of those people who is naturally intellectually curious about life in general, not just his specialty and he finds my observance fascinating. I enjoy our conversations because his questions challenge me to better define and articulate portions … Continue reading Hashem as a Life Coach
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
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