And It Begins…

Rabbi H. sent out the welcome email letter yesterday during lunch. I read it and could not help but smile. This is my fourth attempt to convert. My fourth rabbi. My fourth approach. If I can steal the idea of “beshert” from Jewish marriage for a second, I’d like to apply it to the conversion process and say I have found my beshert uh… shel giyur.

I have so much respect for Rabbi H. as a teacher and guide, and for the process he has crafted in his short time as a pulpit rabbi. It will require more of me than absorption from text and discussion, and yet he has realistic guidelines from the beginning:

The syllabus is not a road map to Judaism, it is a resource guide to compliment your journey. Like graduate school, it is impossible to read and know all that is suggested in these pages. …What must come from you are questions and reactions that these texts inspire.

The simile he employed encourages me to think that he has referenced material beyond a Judaism 101 level; might there be some 200 – 300, or even 500, level texts? Will I be able to explore what confounds me, what angers me, what moves me in greater depth? I’d love the opportunity, absolutely love it.

He also mentioned the role of discussion in the class:

I will also lead each class with a text of reflection. This text will be studied in tandem, known as hevruta, with another classmate who you do not know. This is how we will begin our class time together.

So many other classes feel lecture oriented, with the converts employing the passive recipient role in the class. And just like class, there are always the people who are too afraid to look stupid, and thus never open their mouths. There are the people that hog the lecture time with their obvious and/or incredibly personal questions. There are those who compare Judaism to their faith/the faith of their childhood (usually these have been the members of the public or partners of Jews about to get married and thus taking the class so that rabbi would agree to marry them). We might actually get to know one another. To build a bond as a cohort. To learn from one another, and to push one another. That excites me. A lot.

There have been so many times where I wished it had worked out, that I could be a Jew by now. And while I’ve always found the clichéd “things always work out” comment to be overly simplistic and even down right insensitive, I’m beginning to agree with its wisdom in this particular case. I love Rabbi H. I love Rabbi P. I love CBS and its community. So excited for next week!


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