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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

It will be more subtle

When I first met with my Rabbi, I told him I was surprised he didn’t stand me up. After all, everthing I’d ever read about rabbis and converts said they had to turn you away three times first. He said that he would make it difficult and there would be hurdles, but it would be more subtle than standing me up for a meeting.

I’ve come to the near end of this part of the journey and looking back can’t quite tell where he tried to turn me away. The times he has canceled has always been for a death in our congregation. Today is the first time that I knew the name and knew the family. It is, as I mentioned briefly, the father of a good friend.

The Glasers were one of the first families to welcome me into the congregation. It was New Year’s Eve and a Friday night–so we had services and a New Year’s party. It was also only my second shabbat–so I still knew very few people. The Glasers made sure that I didn’t walk to the train alone and squeezed me into the car and drove me the short two blocks to the el. When I hardly knew anyone, the Glasers would sit with me and talk to me during the onegs.

Yesterday I said to my co-worker, I don’t know if I’m feeling enough about converting. To me, my life never seems extraordinary. It is just my life. Moving to London with little notice–just my life. Turning 26 in Tokyo–just my life. Becoming a Jew–just my life.

This morning when I woke up, it was like Christmas Eve. Knowing that tomorrow is Christmas and it will be so exciting. I woke up and my first thought (after, Oh Shit, what time IS it?) was tomorrow I’ll be a jew! I’d dreamt in hebrew last night–not the whole dream, obviously, just the blessings. I was so excited, so anxious.

So I worried–other folks seem more excited than me, am I missing something? Then today my cantor called to say, there has been a death and we need to reschedule. And I started to cry. I really surprised myself, where are these tears coming from?

You know that scene in Friends–when Rachel is taking a pregnancy test at Monica’s wedding. Pheobe tells her she isn’t pregnant and she starts to cry and Phoebe says, “See, now you know how you really feel.” It’s like that. Rescheduling the mikvah is really a minor thing, but what it signifies isn’t. Even if the Rabbi didn’t plan it, it was a hurdle I needed. I needed to know, one last time, this is what I really want.

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