So my appointment with the Rabbi is on the 15th. While I’ve only attended one Shabbat celebration at the Temple I’ve been doing a lot of reading and soul searching. Thankfully, a lot of friends and family members have been helpful in asking me a lot of hard questions, which I’m sure the Rabbi will ask me as well.
1. Why do you want to be a Jew? Do you know what’s going on in Gaza right now? That’s a question I got the other day. Yes, I’m aware of what’s going on in Gaza right now but for me, it’s important to realize that not all Jews agree with Israeli occupation, not all Jews are Israelis, not all Jews are Zionists. Personally, I think what’s going on in the region is fucked beyond belief. I also think that it has less to do with belief and more to do with politics and power. Those things are tricky and can make things really hazy.
And why do I want to be a Jew? Why not is probably the wrong answer. Luckily, it’s not my answer and I’m not quite sure how to word the answer except to say that it feels right. I’ve been a spiritual wanderer for as long as I can remember. Growing up as a child of Baptist and Methodist parents attending a Catholic school and surrounded by Christians and Muslims a like I never knew a Jewish person until college. In the time from grade school awe of Jesus to my rejection of Christianity as a college freshman I rejected all monotheistic faiths for Paganism. I tried that on for about 5 years and can still cast with the best of them but when I came to NYC and was surrounded by so many beautiful houses of worship I tried on the Episcopalian hat.
I loved that the Episcopal church ordained woman clergy, I loved that they welcomed gays and lesbians but as I took communion every Sunday I doubted and after a year I stopped attending all together. When I opened my first Jewish Book, Being Jewish, by Ari Goldman I felt at ease; at home. It sounds incredibly cliché but I immediately felt a sense of calm come over my being and I felt happy. I was engrossed and in awe in a way that I can’t really explain except that it feels right.
I’ve since read Living a Jewish Life and Choosing a Jewish Life both by Anita Diamant and The Color of Jews by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz.