A few months ago my rabbi uttered the words I’d been longing to hear, she asked if I wanted to keep reading and thinking and working or if I wanted to convert. I told her I wanted to, but I asked for her opinion. She smiled and answered “I think you’re ready,” (I may be paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it) I felt absolutely elated. Finally, the moment I had be waiting for, the moment I had been preparing for had arrived. She then said we would probably be done by the end of the summer, and that my conversion twin was also going to be officially Jewish by then.
I have chosen to call her my conversion twin because we are very similar women. We both felt the inexplicable connection to Judaism for years and we both took an affirmative step towards conversion at about the same time (she contacted our rabbi about a month before I did and she successfully converted earlier this summer). We also both come from very similar backgrounds and we both fell for nice Jewish boys during this process. So I adore her and I hated having to miss her moment (scheduled the same weekend as my best friend’s wedding), because I knew it would be amazing.
Since then every time I have met with my rabbi she has given me more specific bits and pieces. First she told me I’d be Jewish by the High Holidays, then she told me sometime in August and this week we have been trying to set a date. Although she wanted to schedule it August 9th, my boyfriend is probably going to be out of town visiting his family in New York and I’d really like him to be there. Her birthday is on the 16th so that left us with the 23rd. August 23rd, 2013 would be my official date of conversion. I was in disbelief last night when I read the email, “Let’s do the 23rd.” she wrote. I couldn’t believe I had a date, “23rd for sure then?” I asked in my swift reply. “Yes ma’am!” she replied thirteen hours ago. So when I woke up this morning I knew the date I’d finally be Jewish, then I wondered: Am I ready?
I have been preparing for this very moment for years, I have struggled and questioned and broken down in front of my rabbi more times that I can count on my fingers (and toes). Although the fit was easy, the process has not always been. I’ve had a million questions, and the answer to those questions only lead to a million more. It’s a big, significant step and I am proud to say I have not taken it lightly. Choosing Judaism was probably one of the biggest commitments I had made up until that point, it was one of the most significant choices I have made. Very few things in my life feel as permanent as this choice. Choosing a major in undergrad was not a major commitment, although I worked hard and I loved and enjoyed every second of it. Choosing law school was a big step, but not irreversible. The only commitment that feels as strong is the bond with my family, and that wasn’t a choice it was a gift. I have committed myself to friendships, but those also came into my life like blessings. And I chose to commit to Judaism before I even met my boyfriend, who I definitely choose to commit to every day of my life and it has definitely been a pretty major commitment for me. Thus sitting here, thinking, wondering, I am fairly certain Judaism was the first permanent commitment I chose.
I can often be a brash person. I can get carried away by passions and excited by new ideas, but I don’t make significant choices easily and I do not take them lightly; I didn’t do so in my educational choices or my professional choices or even my romantic choices. I try to be conscious of the deep and long-lasting effect of those choices and try to be careful and thoughtful. Sometimes it is stressful to have to so carefully deliberate. Sometimes thinking about the same thing for an extended period of time is scary, there are dozens of questions and possibilities and consequences.
I have thought about becoming Jewish for years, I have tried to learn about its traditions and its values, I have made them my traditions and my values. I feel Jewish and I cannot wait to be able to say I am Jewish. I am ready.