Eight years ago, on Tevet 1, the sixth day of Chanukah, I converted to Judaism. I took a very early train to Paris where all the other passengers were black and arab workers on their way to work – the people we never see but to whom we owe our buildings and roads. Then on we took the shuttle and made for Leo Baeck College in London for an interview with the Beit Din and the mikveh ceremony.
It was a very impressive day, filled of joy and wonder. Although the rabbi had told me I was ready, I could not help being anxious about the interview. Talking about your spiritual journey with strangers, even in a benevolent atmosphere, is quite daunting. The immersion that followed was obviously very moving. I emerged feeling proud and in awe of what lay ahead of me.
Eight years later, I am grateful that I have found a spiritual home where learning and studying are valued. I am grateful that I belong to the Jewish people and that we share a common history and destiny. I am also particularly grateful for the people I have met on the way, some of whom have become my friends (I hope you recognise yourselves) and who mean so much to me.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽנוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁעָשַֽׂנִי יִשְׂרָאֵל