Converting to Judaism

The Oys and Joys of Choosing A Jewish Life

Promised Bird

on August 13, 2014

“But I was part of the chain of the tradition now, as much a guardian of the sacred Promise as Rav Kalman and the Hasidim were, and it would be a different kind of fight from now on. I had won the right to make my own beginning”
(The Promise by Chaim Potok, p. 342).

I really long for this right. In Potok’s book, Reuven earns this right after receiving smicha (Rabbinic Ordination) at Hirsch University. I don’t necessarily want to become a rabbi like Reuven, but I want the right to make my own beginning. A right to my own Jewish interpretations once I am a member of the fold.

Judaism shapes its people, and the people in turn shape Judaism. While I believe in G-d, I also believe religion is a complex collection of beliefs and practices created by men and women.

I want the right to my own piece of Judaism: a little fluttering bird that I can ornament as I wish. I breathe light and life into it, and it flies back into the piece of sky from whence it came.

A bird with wings that are sparkling, sharp, and smooth like glass. Wings layered in tiny, crisp feathers, blurring only when in motion. Grace and beauty coalesce in every tilt, every gesture.

A bird bright and brilliant, capturing radiant sunbeams that spin themselves off the wingtips and go shooting into the great blue yonder, dissolving before clearing the heavens.

A birdish kind of bird with flip flap flying wings.

Made, born, created, raised, blessed, and sent away with a benediction into the great vast sky, humming of a loving kiss.

My own and yet an entity all its own, never mine to keep but mine to care for, this bright blue bird that smells of summer sky and dewy mornings. My own, but not for keepsies. And me, a Guardian of this sacred Promise.


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