a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

One Week

Posted on: August 10, 2011

This time next week I will be Jewish.  I’m not quite sure how to wrap my head around it, actually.  It’s not like I didn’t know that this day would come, I’ve been planning for this day for over a year.  Still, it’s seems so giant-and so incredibly small.  Who cares?

For all intensive purposes I’ve been Jewish for over a year.  I’ve celebrated every Jewish holiday on the calendar, I’ve celebrated Shabbat both in shul and in my home and with others, I’ve been working hard on making my home Jewish, I’ve created a Jewish circle of friends, I’ve gotten involved in Jewish organizations.  I am Jewish-so why go through all of the hoopla.

Today I got a tongue-and-cheek FB comment from an acquaintance I know will be my friend when we spend more time together.  He told me I had a few days to bail and no one would judge.  The week before I got a FB Message from someone I’ve never met urging me to do the same-bail now!  No one will know!  Huh?  What the Eff is going on here?  The comment I found amusing, especially given the context in which I received it, but the e-mail was a bit alarming.  Then, I go to my BG&J gmail account and tada!  Another e-mail from someone urging me not to convert.

Thing is.  In my heart and soul I’m Jewish and while I may not “need” to go through the hoops of becoming Jewish (which is the opinions I keep getting) you kinda do.  Last I checked my mother wasn’t Jewish, neither is my father.  Come to think of it, I can’t think of a single Jew in the Davis/Miller family.  I don’t have any memories of Aunties lighting candles on Friday night-a remnent of a Jewish past.  I am well aware that my slave ancestors were not Christian.  Perhaps they were Jews-I’m not that kinda Jew.  I’m the kind of Jew who was born Christian and became Jewish, by choice.

Early this summer another acquaintance asked, quite sincerely, if I thought that I was really Jewish.  Like I was a part of twelve lost tribes of Israel and that is why I felt the urge to convert.  I looked into her sincere and hopeful eyes and said, “No.”  She was contemplative and then continued to ask me more questions about why I was converting.  I answered her not because it was polite, but because she really wanted to know. 

That’s how I feel about the e-mails I’ve received.  People are really concerned, they care, they want to make sure that I’m making the right decision.  Thing is, this is my decision.  I don’t have a wedding looming in the future.  I don’t have a Jewish spouse with future in-laws hoping I’ll convert calling me shiksa behind my back.  I don’t have any other reason except for the fact that I felt the click that Rabbi K. told us we’d have then tried to re-word.  Something happened, something changed in me and I wasn’t just trying on Judaism to see if it fit-I felt Jewish.

Wednesday is needed.  As Jewish as I feel-I’m not Jewish and according to Jewish law a convert must immerse in the mikveh to become Jewish.  I’m not sure that I’m going to have a profound change in that I’ve been living Jewishly for a year.  I won’t all of a sudden gain the ability to read Hebrew, speak Yiddish, or get a “berg” added to the end of Davis.  In fact, to the average outsider I won’t even “appear” Jewish.  My conversion isn’t for the outsider.  It’s not even for you, though I’m glad you’re here.  It’s for me.

5 Responses to "One Week"

What a great post!
The sentiments expressed can be applied to so many situations as well as a religious conversion.
This was a good reminder for me. Thanks!

Thanks Sarah! It is completely universal which goes to show that we’re all the same. People, people of faith, whatever-we’re all the same.

אמן
(To the infinity power).

I didn’t get that here in the Bay Area, thank G-d, because I probably would have shit bricks. I heard it in the South all the.damn.time.

You’ve read my journal for a year, you’ve heard my say I frigging LOVE this, this part really bothers me, isn’t this thing cool, what does this idea mean for you?

Not once have you heard me say “Gosh, how will I ever give up my Savior?” or “Sometimes I still feel guilty…” or “Her parents are telling me that I should be doing…” or anything of the like.

You may not mean it, but asking these questions of converts is downright insulting. I am an adult. A rational, spiritual, emotional adult. I am making this decision FOR ME. After a year. Of thinking. Of doing. Of living. Yes, I am damn sure.

So shut up and just say congrats. Like my grandma always said, “Every bride is beautiful and every baby is precious.”

This you in my rant obviously not being you, but every “concerned citizen.”

HAHAHAHAHA! This was the BEST ever! I’m totally with you, my friend!

[...] in a long time-which is strange because my one year anniversary is only a few days away. If I think back to then and now, I can’t help but wonder if I’m the Jew I aimed to [...]

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