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…]

Reclaiming The C (Convert) Word

For some time, Jewish leaders have been encouraging the use of the term “Jew by Choice” as an alternative to “convert.” This is an understandable and good-intentioned attempt to remove much of the stigma that the Jewish community puts on the terms “convert” and “conversion.” However, I believe that this attempt is basically misguided. Words gather connotations from the attitudes and experiences of those who use the word. Replacing a word that has a negative connotation with a … [Read more…]

JBC News of Interest – 11/22/10

Happy Thanksgiving (if you celebrate)! This week’s news wrap up has some interesting stuff to read, so let’s jump right in… The first piece in this week’s roundup is from The Jewish Week, where Rabbi Yehuda Gilad of Yeshivat Maale Gilboa and the Rabbi of Kibbutz Lavi, both in Israel, wrote a great essay on the implosion of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.  On this issue, Jews by Choice of nearly all stripes share common cause with the religious Zionist/דתי לאומי  community, as the … [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…]

Hope For My Jewish Future

When I’m asked why I decided to convert to Judaism, it’s difficult not to give the stock answers “it felt right” or “it just made sense.”  Because I am a relatively newly-minted Jew, I find myself answering that question on a somewhat frequent basis, and I have whittled down my standard answer to the bare minimum. While it is true that I ultimately went through the conversion process because Judaism “made sense” to me, there are more layers to my experience than that basic … [Read more…]