Latkes for Thanksgivukkah

26 Nov

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It turns out that it’s actually really difficult to put the experience of converting to Judaism–the beit din, the mikvah, the brief ceremony–into words.

I wish I could tell you that it was a warm, meaningful, holy, and blissful experience the day I officially became a Jew. It’s hard to describe what it was like in reality, but…well…it was pretty weird.

Don’t get me wrong, I am completely thrilled to be a member of the Jewish people and happy that the conversion happened. I love Judaism! But, when I look back on the day’s events and try to reflect on it as a story in my life–which I aim to share with others–I sort of cringe uncomfortably. I know! What can I say? I’m sorry, but it’s true. The conversion itself was a rather anticlimactic ending to a year-long (well, maybe lifelong) pursuit of a Jewish identity.

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Just a Note About the Future…

18 Oct

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For almost a year now I have been documenting my tale of conversion to Judaism. Culminating in, well, my conversion to Judaism on October 16! This has hands down been the busiest, happiest, most stressful and joyful year of my life and I am sincerely grateful to all those who have stopped by this blog to read about this process.  Continue reading

Today’s the Day!

16 Oct

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I thought I’d take a moment to share and reflect on the historical and meaningful events that have taken place on this date throughout history. Here are some highlights:

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Forbidden Ink (Part 3)

10 Oct
Star of David image

Above images are of some of Ben’s tattoos. Photos provided by Ben, 2013.

Here we are again. I’m in the final stretch leading up to my conversion (just a few days to go now). I spent all of last weekend finishing my “spiritual autobiography” and conversion project, which were due to Rabbi C this week. All this research and writing has left me feeling a little like I’m back in college again. (OK, to be fair, I spent a good amount of time moving into and cleaning our new apartment over the weekend too, but what can you do).

Today I will be sharing the third (and final) piece in my series on tattoos and Judaism. As with Forbidden Ink (Part 2), please bear with the academic tone of this post once more. Please read on…

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Study Session: Beit Din 101

4 Oct

Midterm

It’s test time.

Before I enter the mikveh and say the blessings and officially become a member of the Jewish people, the final step in my (and anyone’s) conversion process is to appear before the Beit Din (Rabbinic Court).

In a matter of days, Rabbi C, along with two or three additional rabbis, will assemble.

For 30 to 45 minutes, I will be asked a series of questions about my motivations for converting, my experience studying and practicing Judaism, Jewish holidays, rituals, theology, etc. I’ve been assured that the Beit Din is more of a conversation than a test, but let’s be honest; when Rabbi C recently described the Beit Din to me as my “chance to show off what I know about Judaism,” my muscles tensed up, understanding that I should be prepared as if this were a final exam. Continue reading

Named: Announcing My Hebrew Name

26 Sep

ARielHelvitca

Thank you to everyone who voted at the end of my Naming Names: Namely, My Hebrew Name post a few weeks back. As a quick reminder, I described the naming practices of various cultures and explained how I was going about choosing a Hebrew name for myself.

Just as, in Genesis, Jacob takes on a new Hebrew name after a spiritually transformative experience, so too do converts to Judaism. After his name changes to Israel, he still is often referred to as Jacob. I, too, will go forward with both my name, Kate, as well as my Hebrew name(s). A Hebrew name is typically only used at times of Jewish significance in life (being called to the Torah, marriage, etc).

A Hebrew name is an important part of your Jewish identity. The Hebrew name you choose is said to capture your bond to the Jewish people.

In that previous post, I narrowed down my Hebrew name options to these: Zakiah (pure), Kochava (star), Kefira (young lioness), Keshet (rainbow), Kelila (crown or laurels), Leilah (night), some combination thereof, or some other name(s) entirely.

Today I’d like to share the results (since that’s fun and kind of interesting) and also announce the name I’ve selected (since it might not be what you’re expecting).

Alright. Drumroll please…

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Forbidden Ink (Part 2)

20 Sep

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OK, ladies and gents, stick with me this week. I’m up to my eyeballs in conversion project research and writing these days.

As such, today I am going to share some of what I have been researching and writing in my spare time, edited slightly for the purposes of this blog. A word of warning: I take a slightly more academic tone in this post than I do in most of my other posts to date.

Here goes, read on…

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