Aside

The Reform Way

I’m really happy I decided to convert Reform. I feel it’s an open environment where any question is OK. When my Rabbi talks about the Torah being in complete harmony with evolution, I am thrilled. My Rabbi is so open minded and is teaching us that it’s OK to question everything.

Also, as a woman, I feel welcome there. There’s an entire book that is female oriented commentary on the Torah. It’s an expensive book but one I must save up for. Here’s the link to it.

Being a woman in Reform means I can contribute and participate fully. I can wear tallitot if I want and a Kippah. I will be treated equally in all cases. Which reminds me: Anat Hoffman was arrested yet again in Israel for trying to pray at the Kotel on Rosh Chodesh. She was roughed up by the police. This is the hold the Orthodoxy has in Israel and it’s pathetic. People are already anti-Semitic enough and when they see this kind of thing going on in Israel they think ALL Jews are like this. Then it gives them another reason to hate us.

I have a friend who is Orthodox and he has problems with women being equal to men. He has this understanding of what a woman’s ROLE is. I find it hard to talk to him sometimes. I don’t even think he believes the stuff he’s promoting but it’s rote memory. I do think that with me around he does question whether he should remain an Orthodox convert.

So I am using the lending library at my shul and I got an excellent loan book today called Why Faith Matters by Rabbi David J. Wolpe. Link I think I’m going to make some videos after reading this book about atheism and its complete misunderstanding of religion, faith and HaShem. There’s a great parable in the beginning of the chapter about Science and Religion. It goes like this:

A thousand years from now when scientists have solved all the questions that plague humanity, they are finally ready for the ultimate challenge. they elect a representative to address God.

“God,” says the scientist in charge. “You are no longer needed. You served a function in your day but that day is gone. We can do everything that You can do, so goodbye.”

There is a moment of silence. Then a voice booms out of the sky: “Everything?”

“Yes,” answers the scientist.

“Can you make a human being from dust?”

“Absolutely.”

“OK,” says God, “let me see you make a human being.”

The scientist reaches down and digs his hands into the earth.

“Oh, no,” says God, “get your own dust.”

 

That alone would make an atheist cry. Not that I want to see atheists cry but some of them attack people of faith for no other reason than they assume they’re a soft target. Most of the attacking is done just for fun so others will laugh at the creationist.

I’m not a shrinking violet so I’m sure I’ll have some videos lined up when I’m done reading this.

So far we’ve learned 6 consonants and 2 vowel sounds in Hebrew class. I feel ahead of everyone else. There are some who don’t study and it takes up a lot of time. Someone actually tried to use the excuse that they spoke a romance language. I was like ‘how does that matter?’ I mean, I speak English and I have to learn this completely new language so what does speaking a different language have to do with it?

Otherwise, class is going good. 

I just asked my Jewish friends whether they think Judaism is about free will or determinism? I said free will but my Rabbi said a mixture of both, which I agree with, but Judaism is about free will. We must take responsibility if we are to carry out our duties to help the world.

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There Must Be Some Mistake

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My Mother has to be Jewish and she’s just hiding it from me. That’s it. My grandmother is actually Jewish and therefore my mother is and therefore I am. 

I mean, how else am I to understand this pull I have towards becoming Jewish? Why Judaism? I’ve tested myself against most religions and always came running right back to Judaism and especially celebrating the Sabbath. What is going on with me? 

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Most converts, as I suspect, already feel Jewish. I know I do. I can’t explain it. One day I was in my Jewish doctor’s office and I found myself, once again, asking as much as I could about Judaism. He taught me how and why to fast on Yom Kippur. He taught me a few things about Rosh Hashanah. I especially loved Rosh Hashanah because I could write down all the nasty things that were ‘last year’ and throw them in a river and watch them go gurgling away forever. 

You see, I have felt Jewish since I was 18 year s old and probably further back but I don’t remember it. I snuck into a Synagogue when I was 18, after Friday night services. I just knew how great it felt as I sat in the red glow of the Synagogue with my hands wrapped around a Siddur (Jewish Prayerbook).

It is said that converts to Judaism are very respected in Judaism, sort of highly evolved people spiritually. Yep, that’s me. I’ve been spiritually trying to tune into Judaism for decades and now I’m going to study and become Jewish.

I can only imagine the Beit Din (Judges that will allow or disallow my conversion) as I tell them I’ve always felt Jewish. 

They’re probably going to look at me funny but if it’s one thing I’ve been with my Rabbi so far is completely honest. 

I sometimes tell myself that no matter what the Beit Din says, I will remain Jewish and will practice my Judaism. 

The strength of my feelings about this are incredibly strong and have been with me for years. This is why I think my mother has to be Jewish. I’m trying to find ways of explaining such strong feelings I have. Then there’s the wishful thinking of ‘Why couldn’t I just be born Jewish? Why do I have to go through all this stuff to pronounce and confirm what I already know about myself?’ 

It also costs a fair bit to take the year long class and to convert. Just using the bath is $500 dollars. This is why my Mother must come clean and just tell me and the rest of the family that she’s Jewish and has been hiding it. Then all this middling around will cease. I will be a Jew right now, and I won’t have to go in front of any court or pay any money to learn what I already know.

I wonder if my story is similar to that of other converts. I know my Rabbi wouldn’t have accepted me to study if he didn’t feel I’d have a good chance at making a great Jew. I just know how deeply Jewish I already am and figure it must be due to having already been born a Jew.

So when I told my family years ago that I was Jewish and was going to study, I sat by my phone waiting for a call from either my Mother or my maternal Grandmother admitting the truth. I waited and waited. Even to this day I still feel that call may come. After all, my Mother won’t send me my Tanakh. I can only think it’s because she’s hiding something from me. Why wouldn’t my own Mother send me my ultimate copy of the Hebrew bible that I left there 10 years ago?

The only other explanation I can think of is that my Mother doesn’t want me to be religious. Maybe she truly is an unhappy, ex-Catholic who thinks all religions are as crazy as Catholicism? Maybe this is the reason she refuses to send me my copy of the Old Testament? That still doesn’t make sense because my parents prided themselves on raising my sister and I to grow up to be whatever we wanted. Do you see what I mean? None of this makes any sense. 

The first time I met with my Rabbi, I got off the bus and an old Jewish man and I walked to the Temple together. Throughout the walk he thought I was going to see the Rabbi to determine if my Mother was Jewish. I tried telling him I was just going there to see if I could study but the old man insisted. That got me thinking even more.

Whatever happens with my Mother I must continue this path and get over my fears. It’s hard to walk into a Temple where nobody knows you except the fact that you aren’t Jewish. And that’s another story.

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