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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Becoming a jew? Priceless

As I walked home from Dominick’s tonight with my brand new toothbrush in my bag, I started tallying up the financial costs of converting. Wow. It’s been expensive and it makes me feel a bit like a MasterCard Commercial.

Judaism 101: $300 First year synogogue dues: $200 Tzedaka to Jewish Organizations: $200 Mikva: $125 Books: Let’s not even talk about it. Household Judaica: $200 (I got it wholesale.) New Toothbrush: $3.99

Why a new toothbrush? Cause the mikva requires it. The mikva is a ritual bath for purity–although I’m more looking for the physical designation that I’ve crossed a barrier and am now jewish. The purity thing, not so much. Today I talked to the woman who runs the mikva–all about the things that will happen. My beit din in the choir loft (only 30 minutes–they must think I’m prepared.), then a tour of the mikva facilities. A shower with the provided shampoo and washcloth. And brush your teeth–but bring a new toothbrush.

A new toothbrush–what if I forget it? A year of work and I won’t be a jew because I forgot the toothbrush? $125 and they don’t have a back up toothbrush selection? Surely there is a jewish dentist who can through some toothbrushes towards the mikva for freaked out converts who might forget in the rush to become a jew to buy a new toothbrush.

I’m not actually worried I’ll forget it–I’ve been way to anal about the jewish stuff to fuck it up now because I forget a toothbrush.

In other news–I’m not feeling so whiney about going alone to my conversion. I have a few people to talk to at shabbat services on Friday and might call Ryan, my best friend from college, but he not only works but works in the far away land of suburbia. I know I can find someone to go with me, but I’m hesitant to ask. Even co-workers have offered to come with me. Folks at Edelman are starting to ask, “What do we do for you? Should we buy presents? What do we say?”

I don’t know, I’ve never done this before and I didn’t have JBC friends until well after their conversions–so how am I supposed to know? I don’t think there is a card at Rosenblum’s or Hallmark.

So–even though my fiscal total of becoming a jew is slightly over (gulp) $1000, the spiritual total is priceless.

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