Saturday, April 7, 2007

Who is like G_d?

In the beginning...

I haven't officially chosen a Hebrew name. In fact, I'm not even sure when I'm supposed to. But all my books and all my research says I should. So I have. At least temporarily.

Introducing....Michal.

Yes. I know, not original. It's the Hebrew version of my name, Michelle, which means "Who is like G_d." Michal means the same in Hebrew according to several Web sites I consulted. I thought about going with Leah, my middle name, but she has a very unsightly place in the Torah and her name means "she who is tired..." Not exactly the name (or message) I want to enter my Jewish life with.

I've always liked the meaning of my name. And as I begin questioning G_d and G_d's place in my life, I think it is very appropriate. I'm starting this blog to correspond with my journey to Jewishness. And I'm using that meaning as the name for this blog -- with the addition of the ever-important question mark. The question mark will likely be a large theme for these posts.

Why Judaism? I'm considering converting for several reasons. Yes, there is a man involved. I'm not going to lie, be trite and say "I've always felt Jewish in my heart, and that's what led me to him" or any of that. So I will lay it all out there and say "Yes, Ryan has led me to Judaism." And I'm grateful for that.

Other reasons: The sense of family and tradition that goes along with such a persecuted faith. The tight-knit sense of community I hope my children will have that I lacked growing up in a Methodist, "anything goes" kind of faith.

Most importantly: Identity. How do you whittle yourself down to one word? Do you say: Wife? Journalist? Woman? Mother? Sister? Friend? Christian? I hope by studying Judaism, I'll be able to discern whether the identity of Jew is right for me.

We're in the 24-hour period of Shabbat right now. Ryan and I had our fried matzoh and read another chapter from the book, Basic Judaism. The chapter talked about how intrinsic the Jewish faith and Jewish actions are. Without one, you can't have the other. It is impossible to be a pious Jew and not do good for others.

I've talked to Ryan's mother about this via e-mail. She devotes a lot of time to the federation and raises money for Jewish causes around the world. It's nice to see that there are places for all kinds of Jews in the faith. I see myself more of a person of action, not as a person of prayer and spirituality.

I had morning drinks with JT this morning. I hope this can be a semi-regular Shabbat tradition, because I'm able to think/talk more freely about G_d and Judaism while I've had some Bloodys (or Mimosas...Mmmm). The rabbi said there wasn't a wrong way to observe Shabbat, but I don't know if he had fried matzoh, Bloody Marys and mimosas in mind.

Onto work...

Topics to come soon -- Passover & Vodka and My Rabbi (or lack thereof)

5 comments:

Jody said...

The Hebrew name Michal is really beautiful. My Hebrew name is Yehudit, which means praise. So let me be the first one to praise you not only for this wonderful online journal but for taking the step to explore Judaism.

Brooke said...

I was just at a "Girls Gone Wild" party last night -- sponsored by those "anything goes" Methodists. Our "anything goes" Methodist neighbors are having an Easter orgy as we speak. You want a wild time? Call a Methodist.

You know what they say -- Methodists do it better.

Mrs B said...

Michelle-
I am excited to be able to read about your journey in Judaism. I'll pray that we all will be enlighten by your journey. It is funny how we view different religions. I, as you probably are aware, do not view the Methodist faith as the same as you. This probably due to changes in our society from when I was in my twenties or even childhood. I ask you to be respectful of all religions on your journey. Each person's religion is their backbone, some are stronger for it and others are still trying to understand and have many questions.
Love you,
Mom

Brooke said...

Your mom has obviously not been to a Methodist wet T-shirt contest. (That's a joke, Mrs. B).

erinhayley said...

Michelle-

I am so excited for you and your new journey into the world of judaism. I was talking to Ryan today, and I think we are all going to benefit from your experience with exploring our religion. Judaism has shaped me into the person that I am today, and I am so grateful for that. I hope one day that judaism can be as big of a part of your life as it is in mine.

Like my mom said, Michal is a beautiful name. Mine is Eta, and although i just found out it does not have a true hebrew meaning it is a nickname for Yehudit (my mom's hebrew name) and Esther (my grammy's english and hebrew name). I never knew that until tonight. I probably would have never known that had you not entered into this journey,so thank you for that!

I look forward to reading your blog and joining you in this journey. I hope you enjoy this process and know that we are all here for you!