Saturday, February 18, 2006
baruch atah hashem
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.