Converting to Judaism

The Oys and Joys of Choosing A Jewish Life

My First Class

on September 12, 2014

One class down, many more to go!

Tuesday night, I had my first Introduction to Judaism class at East Meadow Jewish Center with Rabbi Art Vernon, who is quite the lively individual. Between his 20+ years of teaching and his five grown children, he has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with us. Obviously, he doesn’t know me very well yet, but I’m hoping as the weeks progress we can form some kind of teacher/student relationship.

Even more interesting than the rabbi are the students. Jews from Syria and Turkey and Florida accompany their equally diverse partners. There’s about 10 of us total. Some of my classmates have been keeping a kosher home and raising their children “Jewish” for the past ten years and are now deciding to make it official. Others just want to see what this Jewish stuff is all about. Regardless of background, everyone has been touched by Judaism in some way and is now taking a definite and firm step to make it a part of their lives. And it’s a beautiful thing to see.

We didn’t learn much the first day- mostly intros, getting the syllabus and materials, and starting to talk about Rosh Hashanah. I learned that the most important holiday, agriculturally speaking, in Judaism is Pesach, or Passover. The high holidays only became important after Christianity- we needed something to compete with Lent, Christmas, and Easter. Who knew?

So, the night was full of little tidbits of information like that. I now have a really nifty calendar that tells me what day it is in the Jewish year, all the holidays, and the candle lighting times. I’m also the only single, childless, young(er) person there, but that’s okay. You find Judaism at whatever part in your life makes the most sense, and I don’t think age is a determining factor.

Mostly, I’m just excited to get to know everyone better and learn more. Day one = success.


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