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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones


I’m trying to write my final conversion essay for my rabbi. He’s in Israel this week, so I have until the end of the week to get it done. In four pages I have to explain, “What judaism means to me and why I want it in my life.”

Four pages.

I can give you one sentence or 200 pages, but four? Rabbi, are you crazy? “Hey Leah. You are about to join yourself to a 4000 year old tradition. And, while you are at it, you are joining your children and their children. You’re changing the course of the Jones family–you are making a branch of it into Jews. Please, explain yourself in three or four pages.” I think he wants it double spaced, too.

Something I’ve been thinking about the last few days is that our parents raised a few good jews. What? When my mom and I talk about jewish beliefs about god and family, we are talking about our own family. Judaism hasn’t been a departure from who I was raised to be, it has strengthened what my parents put in me. I wasn’t born Jewish, but that was an accident of geaneology. There were jews in our family–one small branch on my dad’s side.

But more important, there were and are jewish values. So I feel like I’m just making it official.

I’ve also been thinking about having a treif-fest, a buffet of treif before I convert. To eat a bacon cheeseburger. Shrimp cocktail. Lobster bisque (because I’ve never had it and now it seems, I never will.) But the time for a pork-a-thon would have been last december, before I tried on living a jewish life. Yeah–the beit din and mikvah make it official, but I’m pretty sure the guilt of saying, “Well, I wasn’t really jewish yet, so it didn’t count.” after so many months of living a jewish life… oy vey.

So I’m scratching plans for a porkapalooza and am going to write my essay. Really…. right now. Writing an essay in four pages or less. Why do I want judaism in life? Because it is already there.

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