Online Conversion to Judaism Course and Ceremony Option
Our converts are participating all over the world!
email Judaism36@gmail.com 847.331.3584
updated Dec. 2013
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Genuine Ordained Rabbinic beit din
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I became friends with , my fiancée, when I first moved to the
area in June of 2000. We worked at the same alternative high school in
. After being friends for over two years, it became apparent there was more to our friendship that we had not discovered. We began dating in May of 2002. At that time, I had a very limited understanding of Judaism. As I met her family and was accepted at holidays, I began to become envious of the core values that were and are the center of their family. The openness, love, and giving generosity spoke to me on a level that I had not discovered on my own. My family did not display the same dynamics. I was always encouraged to become an active participant in Passover, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur. My natural inquisitive nature always made me look forward to the times when the family would get together. I enjoyed the traditions, prayers, telling of family stories, and sense of togetherness and peace that permeated from these events. I began to realize that these feelings did not just occur during these times, but throughout the year. I wanted my life to have that center. As Susan’s and my relationship progressed, I wanted that sense of peace and togetherness at the core of our family.
I have always been a student of world religions and philosophy from my days of undergraduate studies in my home town of
, IL. I recognized the history and importance of the Jewish religion as it relates to several major religions. I found myself intrigued by the dedication, lifestyle, and community aspects of Judaism. I saw how Judaism binds a family together. It is not something that just occurs once a week. It is a lifestyle of choices. I found in myself that many of my choices in my life were made utilizing some of the same core values. There seemed to be a connection that I was not aware of until I began to scratch the surface of Judaism. Judaism started to make sense to me in a way that I recognized could help shape and guide my life to insure that I make the best of the precious gift G*d has given me. I have been truly blessed in all things and I find in Judaism a way to rejoice in those blessings, as well as thank G*d for them, and help others find success and happiness.
The family values of celebrating Shabbat, holidays, and togetherness are very appealing to me. As I have mentioned before, I believe that living a Jewish life and raising children in the traditions and practice of the Jewish faith gives a core existence and strength to the family bonds. It keeps the family bound tightly together through prayers, Jewish practice, and spirituality. The lifestyle values of being truthful, faithful, loving, kind, law abiding, giving, caring, and compassionate all persuade me to be a better person so that I can treat others the way I want to be treated.
I began to question the teachings of my former religion as I studied the religions and philosophies of eastern cultures. I came to the understanding that there had to be a way for people to get to heaven other than what was taught to me from childhood. There were just too many scenarios that caused me to question the Christian beliefs. My G*d is a loving and peaceful G*d that would not banish millions of good natured, G*d fearing people that had never heard of a specific religion. Judaism is the original covenant with G*d. The Ten Commandments are a direct guideline how to live a life that is connected and in tune with G*d and humanity. Judaism and the Torah give direction on how to live your life with your family and community in peace.
My understanding of G*d is that He is the Creator and Master of the universe. He has a plan for all of us, and it is my duty and obligation to follow that plan by making choices that will bring peace and happiness to me and others. It is my hope that I can make a small piece of this huge world a little better each day by showing compassion, caring, and kindness to everyone that I interact with. My relationship with G*d is one of master and servant. I believe that G*d has shown us the way to happiness. It is our responsibility to not fight His will. He is infinitely wise, kind, and compassionate. I am but a human and can not always understand why things happen the way they do, but I am accepting of the fact that there is a master plan by G*d that has a place for me in it.
My personal and home life has changed in several ways. My fiancé lights candles on Shabbat. I make time either on Friday nights or on Saturdays to devote time to just being with I make more time in my schedule to spend with family. I celebrate Hanukkah and light the menorah, Passover through the observance of dietary restrictions and reading of the Seder, and fast during Yom Kippur. I have a larger understanding of G*d’s covenant with the Jewish people. These changes have taken place due to taking the conversion class, discussions with my future father-in-law and Susan, reading “How to be a Jew”, and through conversations and study sessions with the Rabbi.
I see my Jewish life progressing in the future by attending services on a more regular basis, celebrating more Holiday traditions such as Succot and Pesach, continuing to light candles, raising a Jewish family, children becoming bar/bat mitzvah (G*d willing), studying the torah, and conversations/study sessions with the Rabbi.
6. Describe your sense of identification with the Jewish people in relation to
, World Jewry, the local Jewish community, and your synagogue.
I agree with
’s decision to be proactive in defense of the country. I feel connected with the local Jewish community and synagogue through my family. I attend Jewish festivals and events celebrating the arts when possible. I look forward to the opportunity to continuing attending services on Holidays and Shabbat, learning to read Hebrew, and taking classes to discuss the Torah and learn from scholars. I watch documentaries about historical events that have affected the world wide Jewish community. Also, I watch videos from Rabbi Ginsberg’s You Tube collection. Additionally, I have watched the documentary Judaism in
I am still learning Hebrew and various prayers, but continue to want to learn more. I pray regularly in English before and after meals thanking G*d for the blessing of the food I am about to eat, in the morning before I get out of bed, and in the evening when I am ready to go to bed. My focus of these prayers are to keep myself and my family safe, good health, and to thank Him for the blessing of another day by returning my soul to this earth. I recognize the importance of prayer in Hebrew. Hebrew is the language of Jewish thought, it is the language with which the covenant with G*d was formed, and it gives me additional incentive to learn Hebrew. Only in Hebrew can the pure essence of Jewish thought be preserved and properly understood. My fiancée and I have been starting to practice Shabbat. . This causes me to have to work many athletic events scheduled on Friday nights and Saturdays. I do not mix meat and dairy in the same meal. I do not eat pork, and I have fasted during Yom Kippur.
8. How do you plan to continue your Jewish study?
I plan on learning to read Hebrew. I have never been a strong student in relation to learning languages. Fortunately, She teaches Jewish Sunday School and is an excellent teacher. I have really just started to scratch the surface of the Jewish faith. I intend on taking classes and attending services to study and learn the Torah. In my previous religion, only small readings of the Torah were used to preface the sermon. I want to learn more about the historical aspects and stories of the Jewish religion.