Today/tonight’s Erev Rosh Hashanah. Or the eve of the Jewish new year. I hope that everybody has a great new year. Eat those honey dipped apples (as part of a wish for a sweet new year), and have some honey-cake too.
I’m going to get going, because I have some homework to do for a few classes tomorrow, and I have to get ready for services at 8:15 tonight.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m really getting into this Judaism thing. I guess that it all has to do with a few kind of personal things, and with a need to discover who I am and what really defines me as me.
For the first time in almost a long as I can remember, I feel comfortable around people in a house of worship. I feel welcomed, and I feel at peace. Things make sense. I like that, and I think that I’m going to continue on with this because of that feeling.
Continue on to the point of conversion, that is. A few months ago, I really began to feel a big need inside myself to kind of discover what I beleived in. I had ignored that need for so long that it seemed to have built up almost to a breaking point. At about that time I began to look around for a belief system that matched my beliefs about the way that the world and people are.
I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t Christianity. I’d been raised Christian, and from about the fourth grade on, I began to have problems with the whole religion that finally culminated in my stopping going to services in about 6th grade.
So anyways, I’d quickly looked at Buddhism, and found too many problems with that.
At about that time two things happened. My girlfriend of 2.5 years broke up with me, kind of amplifying the whole identity crisis that I was in, and I started chatting with a friend who came back to Vegas for the summer. He’d just about completed his conversion, and when I asked him why he chose to convert to Judaism, his reasons sounded compelling enough for me to take a look at it.
I started by looking at Wikipedia’s pages about Judaism, and then I went on to the Judaism 101 FAQ. That helped a lot explaining the basics of the religion, and I liked what I saw. Then I picked up a book to read, Chosing a Jewish Life. A great quick overview of what it’s like for a convert and advice on conversion, and a quick overview of Judaism in general.
Then I got back to Vegas and went to synagogue a few times. I had never felt so welcome and comfortable before. I was hooked.
Even so I took a few weeks off of the synagogue, just to think about things and let it all sink in. I also picked up a copy of Essential Judaism. This book is huge and rocks. Hands down. It explains virtually everything that you could possibly want to know. It’s been a great help. I read a lot of that, and started going to synagogue again. And after that I knew that I was making the right decision in choosing to convert.
Currently, the Rabbi has taken on all of the students that he can (it’s a time-consuming process for both the Rabbi and the student), and so I’m waiting for the next round of conversion classes, whenever that may be.