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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Practice Rosh Hoshanah

Tonight I’m taking a practice swing at Rosh Hoshanah and baking two round challahs. I found some instructions on the handy, dandy internet and am going to try. I even bought two new pans for the occasion. A deep dish pizza pan for a long, circular braid, and a 9 inch springform pan to try a pull apart challah.

I’ve got the dough in the oven for the first rise, which means I can go back to reading my book about a family of bakers in Israel. Or, I could write my conversion essay. I think I’m getting closer to the idea I want to get across. Maybe, as anxious as I am to be in the tribe, I don’t want this path to end. It won’t, there are endless things to learn about judaism.

I have seen Rabbis with 50 years of congregation work be surprised by a comment a lay person has said. And I know that from here it will keep circling and going deeper, but it marks the end of… well, my life as a gentile.

In this book, the mother Sarah is a convert. Her entire family converted. Even at the age of 50, people sneer at her, “your wife, the goy.” There will be people for the rest of my life who won’t accept me as a jew and who might say, “your wife, the goy” or “your mother, the goy” or “your rabbi, the goy.” Not that I plan on going to rabbinical school, but if I did–there would be hundreds (thousands) of rabbis who would just see a charlatan.

I’m afraid that I won’t meet a jewish man to marry. That I’ll fall in love with a gentile who might convert or might not, but then we’ll have this bizarre household of not quite traditional prayers or customs, because neither of us grew up with it. It’ll be seders like we read about in a book and prayers that we heard on a CD. There are times in this book when it talks about the harsh hebrew of the converts and how coarsely they wrap teffelin, like tourniquets. (how many mispelled words is that in a row? sorry folks.)

I’m just a little scared and I guess that is normal.

In the meantime, I have a challah to braid.

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