Monday, August 30, 2010

Why convert?

Some background: I was raised in a Christian family but ever since High School I’ve had a problem with the idea of Christ as the Messiah. Over the years that has crystallized in an understanding that I don’t believe in the immaculate conception, the resurrection, the divinity of Christ or the Trinity. I do believe in God though, and I did want a religion, but my beliefs precluded Christianity from ever being an acceptable choice. I tried Unitarian Universalism for a few years, but while I enjoyed the environmental/social/human rights stuff I missed the spirituality. I needed a religion. So I started to read, and in Judaism I found everything I was looking for.

What attracted me to Reform Judaism?

God: The Jewish concept of one infinite, unknowable God perfectly meshes with mine
Torah: ‘The people of the book’, Judaism revolves around Torah, the Tanakh, Midrash and other methods of study. Hey, I’m a librarian, I love books! And I love the idea of having a pattern, a way of life and of worship spelled out for me.
Ritual: Keeping kosher, lighting Shabbat candles, having a Passover Seder, building a sukkah, hanging a mezuzah. I love that I have these ways of bringing God into daily life and making ordinary activities, like eating dinner or walking through a doorway spiritual reminders of God’s presence in my life.
Action: Jews live in this world, here, today. They do not live for some possible future in heaven. They work to make the world a better place daily. Justice, human rights, social action, volunteerism and charity are ingrained into Jewish life.
Worship: I love attending Kabbalat Shabbat services. The pure joy in worship that I experience at each service brings me to tears nearly every week. I have never known such a joyous group of people before.
Sabbath: The concept of taking a day of rest, of allowing oneself to rejuvenate and to celebrate and embrace life instead of just rushing through it is incredibly healing.
Welcome: Everyone I have met and interacted with at my synagogue has been so kind, welcoming and helpful. I have never felt more ‘wanted’ in my life!
High Holidays: Atonement, returning to God, asking forgiveness. What beautiful concepts, what a necessity to live in loving kindness. That these concepts are ritualized during the Days of Awe and Yom Kippur is to me more evidence that this is the right religion for me.

What have I found at Temple?

Really it can be summed up in one word. Home.

Tomorrow morning I enter the mikvah and take my Hebrew name, Chana, along with my youngest daughter. Tomorrow afternoon we will be Jews. Shalom.


Michelle R said...

Beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts! I have always been attracted to Judaism. Maybe one day this will be something more for me to explore....

Much love, Michelle

Cassi said...

Congrats! I'm so glad you found what you were looking for!

Alicia said...

Hey girl, I hope you're OK. If you need to talk or vent, email me. It's my first and last name (all one word) at gmail dot com. I just wanna make sure you're OK.

love you,