Thursday, January 25, 2007

Conversion Date

March 29th is the day I'll be visiting the Mikveh. I am so excited. My symbolic rite of circumcision (I always forget the Hebrew name) is the day before.

This is truly remarkable for me.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Soulfully Satisfying

This is the term I have come up with to describe the feeling through my body after attending shul, Torah study, Hebrew class, reading more about Judaism, etc.

For the first time in my life, I feel nourished by a religious and spiritual tradition, beyond my own belief that G-d exists.

This is truly wonderful, and words cannot fully describe it.

Many have asked me why I am leaving Catholicism. Is it because I am gay, jaded, or just disenfranchised?

It's not quite that simple. As I have told people in the past, my experience of Catholicism would not make for an exciting Lifetime movie.

The best answer I can come up for people is that there is room for me in Judaism. There is a space in Judaism where I can authentically be me, as G-d created me.

That doesn't mean I don't need to grow and change; certainly Judaism teaches us we must constantly struggle to grow and reach new heights. But, Judaism is the only tradition I have found that truly honors struggling, doubting, and striving.

This weekend, in his sermon, my Rabbi said that doubting, challenging, fearing, and worrying were just as much a part of the Covenant as celebrating, honoring, and loving G-d.

It was this moment that it dawned on me - my experience of Christianity is that everyone's experience of the traditions needs to be the same. You have to believe certain things, you have to feel a certain way about those beliefs, and if you doubt certain core, beliefs, there is shock and horror amongst the "believers."

In Judaism, I am allowed to learn about, struggle with, doubt, fear, love, celebrate, and honor G-d....all at the same time.

I am not sure if anyone else can identify with this experience, but it has been truly profound for me. This weekend marks the point in my life where I realized I am truly ready to convert and life my life as a Jew.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Adult Torah Study

On Saturday morning, I attended my Shul's Adult Torah study class before services. I found it incredibly stimulating, as it reminded me of some of my great classes in college.

We sat in a circle, read through a Torah portion, and discussed its various aspects for over an hour. Included in this was not just dissecting the text, but people provided their unique perspective for what the portion said to them.

It reenergized me, as my interest in studying waned during the holidays. Part of that was due to my high energy around it before, and it was simply the cosmos balancing itself out. But, I have been plagued by certain doubts about what kind of religion was "right" and "wrong."

Being raised Christian, I am coming face to face with what I was taught my entire life. While I certainly do not believe that Judaism is a wrong path, the junk idea that Christianity is the only way to salvation remains with me in a childish way, much like bad habits that need to be shaken off.

The class reminded me of how G-d is present for all people, regardless of tradition. He is simply waiting for us to find him, for he already holds us in his hands.