It is hard to imagine that the word “Jewish” sounded so foreign and completely unrelated to me not too long ago. When I met my now-husband Andrew, I was fed small, delicious morsels of Jewish tradition and history. We made latkes and cholent and charoset, spun the dreidel, felt the tallit that belonged to Andrew’s great-grandfather, and he would tell me the fascinating stories he learned from Hebrew school as a child.
I eventually came to realize that this was the kind of home I wanted to create for Andrew and myself. My path to becoming a Jew-by-choice was a gradual one, (as, I suppose, most life-changing journeys are!), that started with a bowl of matzah ball soup at The Main and led me to the mikveh. It progressed to lighting Shabbat candles on Friday nights and reflecting on the values and traditions of our people. This transition from feeling like an observer to being integrated into the community began with my decision to convert and my participation in Jewish life at Temple such as playing the violin with the band.
As Jews, we come from diverse backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles, yet we are also guided by common values and practices. Through our traditions, we also feel a deep and special connection to those who came before us. I now feel that being Jewish is a lifelong evolution of learning, reflecting and trying to improve the world for future generations and preserve our traditions. My conversion was one important step in this process that helps me affirm my commitment to leading a Jewish life. And I now make my own matzah ball soup.