One of the best rewards that I could receive as a Rabbi, teacher and a friend is the following letter that Neebashnee sent to me. Especially during this month of Elul, let’s strive to be more positive thinkers, be grateful for what we have all around us during our daily life. Let’s open our hearts to welcoming new members of the congregation.
Appearing before a rabbinical court brings with it a feeling of trepidation and heightened anxiety. However there is something different in the air today; there is an added feeling of expectation, as this court will hopefully mark the culmination of my conversion process.
Nothing can prepare one for the time when one comes before three Rabbonim. Not to mention, my Hebrew teacher, the part for which I am most fearful – when I will have to read aloud from the machzor, demonstrating my knowledge of a language so beautiful, that when I speak it, I literally feel suspended in a moment gone, reminiscent of ancient times.
The questions are posed and my answers are tinged by my own nervous emotions. How can I hope to adequately enunciate the connection that I feel, between Divine and mortal, and yet which is impossible to fathom, all while sparking within me a feeling of peace so profound that I often “smile out aloud” at synagogue. The journey to this point hasn’t been easy. Learning to open my mind and wrap my heart around a faith and a lifestyle where I essentially had no inkling of what the barest basics were, while performing the simplest of rituals were challenging in their own right. However that’s what one does when one falls in love – You leave your own people, your own rituals, your own lifestyle to learn and embrace the one of the One you fall in love with. You walk a path that is foreign and unseen, never knowing and yet blindly trusting.
And just as suddenly we’re done, and I can officially begin my Jewish life. And I know, that just as those who have walked before me, so will I walk. Just as those who have lived before me, so will I live. And just as those who have been loved before me, so am I loved.
Shabbat Shalom – Rabbi Julia Margolis