Anniversary and Gratitude


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

9 thoughts on “Anniversary and Gratitude

  1. Mazal Tov! Leo Baeck is where I had my Beit Din and mikvah experience too – on a similarly cold and windy day (it snowed later!). I remember the trepidation too… Like it was yesterday. Enjoy your anniversary!! xx

    • I enjoyed spending the day at Leo Baeck, for the conversion and choosing a mezuzah and a book to remember the day – not that I would ever forget but you see what I mean. Thank you for everything!

  2. I’m glad it went so well! I’ve heard some not so well stories. But you’ve probably heard some of those, too. Take care. Glad you are telling us born as Jews what a treasure we are born to bear.

    • Thank you Leora! On the way to London a family who had adopted a little girl from Vietnam had had unpleasant experiences elsewhere. It was thus very moving to hear her parents say how she had cried ‘Hurray, I am Jewish now!’ after the mikveh. I was lucky that we had an inspiring and trusting rabbi.

  3. What a beautiful post. I have a lot if respect for my friends who were not born Jewish but made the choice to join the Jewish people. Every so often I wonder what it would be like and how I would have faired undergoing the process. I’m happy you had such a great experience.

    • Thank you! I think it is actually the first time I have written about the conversion day itself. I think that the way your journey goes has as much to do with the individuals you meet (we are a people after all) as with what you do to become a Jew.

  4. Pingback: Weekly Review with Candles | Ilana-Davita

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