Converting to Judaism

The Oys and Joys of Choosing A Jewish Life

Dear Mom and Dad

on November 28, 2014

Dear Mom and Dad,

As I sat surrounded by family this Thanksgiving, I couldn’t help but ask: Why have a family? Other than the biological impulse to reproduce, it’s an expression of love, fulfillment, and a way to carry on one’s legacy. Every human being is someday going to die, so we need those who will continue to embody our own core values after we are gone. In that way, we live on through our ideals. Descendants are one way to make sure that the goodness we attempted to plant in the world grows and flourishes.

Someday, I hope to continue your legacy so that your love will never die. You have taught me well and impressed on me your most important values, which now guide my life as an adult. Love G-d and seek always to do his will. Offer praise through a life of gratitude. Respect all life for it is sacred. Honor those who are older and wiser. Show goodness and charity and kindness to all that you meet. Make a place for art and beauty in your life. Maybe you never said these things to me, but they were loud and clear in your actions.

Without your love and upbringing, I never would have found myself in Judaism. I know that when you first became parents, you had hoped also to pass down your Catholicism, for it not only embodies your values, but shapes who you are as faith-filled adults. I respect that greatly, and I also hope to pass on my religion to my children and allow it to guide their lives.

The way in which I wish to live my life- a prayerful, impactful, meaningful life full of kindness- calls me to a Jewish life, just as Jeanne is called to be a nun. I have decided to convert to Judaism. The decision I make is not rash, but well-thought out and shaped by the experiences I have had. Judaism allows me to not only live as you taught but to live as I am. I am the woman who chants in Hebrew every Friday night to welcome the day of rest. I am the woman who shares in the rich cultural and historical tradition of a resilient people. I am the woman who stays up late debating the ethics and morality of modern-day issues and conflict in Israel. I am the woman who braids challah, bakes hamantaschen, spreads lox over bagels, and sips matzo ball soup. I am the woman who believes in a G-d who invites me to follow his commandments. I am the woman whose soul dwells here but also in heaven each night as I sleep, whose heart belongs with the Jewish people, and whose mind accepts their teachings. I am the woman who has been shaped by your love and will in turn shape the world lovingly.

I promise to continue your legacy. I can not change my values any more than I can change my blue eyes or my love of potatoes. I can mask both those things behind colored contacts and a starch-free diet, but it’s still me underneath. Likewise, I can not change who I have become. I have found myself and a way to live ethically and lovingly. Your values guided me along, and the love for G-d you instilled in me helped me to search for G-d in everything that I did. I am more than happy to have found him, and I know as the years go on, I will not only turn to my values but to both of you as I struggle to make a career, raise a family, and do good for this world.

I understand this letter is bold and a lot to grasp. Please do not think that I am hiding behind words. You know I am much more articulate in my writing than in my speaking, and I am always open for future discussion. Above all, I love you and appreciate everything that you have done for me. Thank you.

Love Your Daughter,

Jenn

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: