a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Decisions, Decisions

Posted on: August 23, 2010

Last week I sat down with 2 rabbis from 2 different congregations and it’s probably safe to say that I have some decisions to make.  It’s been my initial thought that before completing the conversion process that I would shul shop to find the congregation that I felt the most at home in.  Not only did I want to find a congregation that I felt the most at home but a rabbi who’d I’d feel comfortable in confiding in.  Way back in May when I stepped into my first synagogue I talked to a rabbi who told me that she didn’t hold conversion classes.  She reasoned that the conversion process was a hard one (something I’m realizing with each day)  she said there would be hard questions, hard discussions, and things that I’d need to talk through.  She felt that these tough things could only be dealt with fairly and reasonably on a one on one basis.  I hung up the phone with her feeling energized and slightly nervous at the same time.

Wednesday I attended a conversion open house in Chelsea and on Friday I sat in a rabbis office-just she and I.  I walked out of the office and walked down the street feeling uneasy, happy, and concerned.  She had questions I couldn’t answer, concerns I didn’t know I had, insight to things I thought I had figured out.  It was hard.  Very hard and it made me realized that she could be my rabbi.  I’ve met a half dozen rabbis along this journey and this one made me feel.

So while I have not yet visited the congregation she’s a part of her presence and knowing that my conversion future would be in her hands was inspiring.  Every book I’ve read has warned me that it’s not necessarily the rabbi but the shul itself, the home, the meat and guts of the place.  A new reader reminded me that it’s more than the shul, as well, it’s the people, the community, the family that would be my shul that’s an important aspect as well.

Here in lies the dilemma.  I’ve visited a congregation for a solid month and absolutely love it every time.  And I’ve met a rabbi that I met with for one hour and felt absolutely on fire.  It’s always been my goal to visit my list of “congregations of choice” for one month to make sure that it feels right so that’s what I’m going to continue to do.  Problems arise with conversion classes, courses, one-on-ones and I’m sure that I’ll probably learn the “same” things more than once and I’m okay with that.  I’m under the impression that I can’t learn too much.  Therefore, I’m  not going off course.  I just thought I had figured out and apparently, I do not.

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