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.
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.
Topics to come soon -- Passover & Vodka and My Rabbi (or lack thereof)
No, the New York Times isn't normalizing Nazis.
3 weeks ago