Saturday, February 18, 2006


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baruch atah hashem
or reasons and implications of my impending conversion to Judaism

I spent a very German day today -- simple breakfast, long walk in a chilling wind, afternoon nap. Reminded me of the time I spent in Duesseldorf. Except I didn't bring back leeks and cheese. What did they call it? Spatzierengangen... something like that.

I've often wondered why I wound up in Germany. I mean, I took four years of French, and AFS sends me to Duesseldorf, West Germany. It was actually "West" at the time. I saw the wall. I was in East Berlin and felt the sterile Soviet imposition. I felt the tension at the border. I went to Buchenwald.

I recently finished "Night" by Elie Weisel. I'm surprized that I hadn't read it before, actually. I've been exposed to the Jewish collective memory before -- from the stage play of "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" to the two times I've been to the Holocaust museum. I read Anne Frank's diary, although I didn't feel strongly about going inside the house when I was in Amsterdam.

I feel like the Jewish heart has been next to me all my life. Sitting patiently beside me, waiting for me to notice it's existence. Slowly seeping into my conciousness. I am facinated, enamored really, of the history, the dedication to documentation, the constant self-analysis and processing. (Qualities of Germanic peoples, as well as Jews, I think now.)

There's something to this all. I just don't know what yet.

The question, I feel coming from friends and family, is "why?" Why am I converting to Judaism. Is it because Lauren is Jewish? It certainly makes it easier. I can't say it wasn't a part of the impetus, although I feel that it was a smaller part, than the real search that my soul does. There is a part of me that is constantly looking for... an answer, the right question.



- I believe in something greater than myself, which is part of me, to which I feel obligated

- I believe this inner inclination has been around for centuries, and I believe the biblical stories of people who also searched for a better way to live

- I believe there is something to the ancient rituals of worship -- some of which I feel compelled to recreate (i.e. not the the animal sacrifice, even though I consume animal flesh on a regular occasion)

- I believe that I have a role in tikkun olam

- I believe that the social changes of the Beat Generation, the Hippies, and the resulting "progressive" politics are inspired by a sense of justice, fairness, and the acceptance of all things created by the Creator.

- I believe that who I am, and what I have lived through, and what I learn through living... well for as much strength as I have, I need as much strength. I need the strength of the power that created us, and the power that created us needs my strength.

- and the flavor, of spirituality, of inclusion, of fairness, of ritual, of historically proven stability, draws me toward the Jewish faith.

Some interesting stuff I'm reading...
Jewish Literacy (Rabbi Joseph Telushkin)
yeah, I'm a little singleminded...
all the princesses arrive for the party      isn't she the cutest?  Lauren helped with the bracelet making.      Jess gets a crash course in hair styling from Lauren.
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