As I explore my Jewish roots and Judaism, I have learned so incredibly much, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is how little I know. The fact is, being Jewish is much more than an ethnicity or a religion, it is a culture, a language, a shared history, music, peoplehood, and national identity. I read for several hours a day every day and have for months now, I put into practice what I learn, and yet there is so much more to learn around every corner.
Now that I am studying for conversion to Judaism, I begin to realize the nearly unfathomable depths of the religion (and people) and just how different it is from anything I’ve experienced in the past. The richness of everything I’ve studied and learned is breathtaking, to say the least, and is something I am nearly addicted to in my desire to understand. This has been a journey for me, and one in which for every step I take forward, I find a thousand more to take.
To say that I’ve fallen in love with all things Jewish would be a drastic understatement and in fact, would do how I feel absolutely no justice. I feel a deep-seated connection to everything I have learned, something that goes beyond my Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity to the very depths of my being. The more I learn the more I feel this connection, like a pull to return to what I should be and know. The is nearly inexplicable to me but is nonetheless factual…
In regards to Judaism itself, the religion is deep, with MANY practices to learn and a lot of spiritual practices the outside world may not be wholly privy to. As I begin to adapt to applying the lessons and practices I’m learning, I am adding them in parts to fully form them as a habit, such as a prayer three times a day. The holidays and festivals I am also celebrating as best I can and doing what is required as I can without formal education on the matters. Everything I am learning has been through copious books and internet research as of yet.
We have reached out to congregation Rodeph Shalom and have fallen in love with the community there, so we will be going through the process of conversion through them. It is a reform synagogue that seems to fit my family better than orthodox or conservative movements. Judaism is a lot to learn, a lot to love, and will fill a lifetime of learning for me.