Thursday, March 29, 2007
I am a Jew
From right to left: Rabbi Michael Latz, myself, Rabbi Will Berkowitz, and Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg with her beautiful baby son.
Today was the big day. My husband, my best friend, and I arrived about 20 minutes early. We enjoyed the Spring sun. When the Rabbi’s arrived, we headed into the front room of the mikveh. The mikveh was much more modern than I expected it to be, very new, and very nice.
It was exciting to speak with the Bet Din before immersion. I also found is frustrating, as they all posed some significant, meaty questions. While they seemed to enjoy my answers, I never felt like I could quite express myself as well as I wanted. Being that these questions are often ones pondered through the ages, I guess I should lighten up on myself.
After about 30 minutes, our dialogue was finished and I was excused. Five minutes later, I was called to immerse in the mikveh. I showered and dried off. My husband served as my witness and the Rabbi’s stood outside the door, thank goodness. I am not shy, but my Rabbis do not need to see me naked. No reason, no way.
I immersed three times, saying the three separate prayers. Coming up the third time, I emerged as a Jew. I dried off (again), got dressed, and went out into the front room. There, I signed my conversion certificate, with both my given name and my Hebrew name, in Hebrew no less.
Then each person in the room left me with such kind words, I was overwhelmed and speechless. Most notably was Rabbi Rabbi Kinberg, who said that she was honored to be a member of my tribe. I am still astounded by those words.
I left feeling different, and not so different. While I am happy, fulfilled, and pleased, I am also feeling disoriented. My goal was the conversion; now what? Where am I headed? Where am I going? What am I striving for? Clearly, I am always seeking a closer relationship with Hashem, my Jewish community, and the global community. But, where in the world do I begin to do these things as a newly converted Jew?
I guess I just begin wherever I start. What a wonderful, alive day this has been