Conversion Stories

Doing Jewish: More Than Faith

D’var Torah for Parashat Mishpatim 24th of Sh’vat, 5771 Although this parashah is called “Mishpatim”, “laws” in Hebrew, and lists lots of mitzvot, I want to focus not on the laws, but on two verses found toward the end of the parashah which are very similar and which reminded me of a personal experience. Note that it is always considered significant when an idea is repeated in the Torah. The first is the second part of (Exodus) Chapter 24, verse 3: …וַיַּעַן … [Read more…]

Rabbi Chaya: My journey to Judaism

My journey to Judaism began when I was 16 years old. At that time, I was a practicing Methodist and I was very involved in my church. I was a member of the youth group and the choir, attended Sunday school and worship services every week, and volunteered to work every fundraiser. One of the songs I used to sing in the choir was an old time gospel entitled, “Yes I Know.”     Come, ye sinners, lost and hopeless, Jesus’ blood can make you free; For He saved the worst among … [Read more…]

The Long Road – Tara’s Conversion Story

Jews and Jewish tradition were always a positive part of my life. I went to school in an area where many Jews lived. This demographic reality was celebrated, and I spun dreidels as part of my secular second grade curriculum. When I was 12 or so, my mom discovered that the man her mother had married was not her biological father. Mom was half Jewish, and this revelation ushered in a new world of boisterous, opinionated Orthodox Jewish cousins, aunts, and half-brothers who sounded and acted just … [Read more…]

From Chopsticks to Chosenness – One Girl’s Journey

When I was a little girl, I lived on Collins Avenue, in Miami Beach.  Today, the neighborhood is the heart of glamorous South Beach.  Back then, there would be people sitting out in the street in their beach chairs playing mahjong, and you were more likely to hear someone speaking Yiddish than the Spanish you would encounter today.  You just assumed that everyone was Jewish because it was unusual to find someone who wasn’t Jewish.  As far as I knew, I was Jewish too.  Never mind that my … [Read more…]

The Long Way Back

My name is Juan Mejía. I was brought up as a fairly traditional Catholic, in Bogotá, Colombia. I went to an elite Catholic school for boys and, in a country where non-Catholics comprised less than one percent of the population, I never challenged the assumption that my Catholicism was just the way things had to be. For a while, I even considered becoming a priest after graduation from High School. And then Christmas happened. By this, I mean a very particular Christmas. I was fifteen years old … [Read more…]