Sunday, August 1, 2010

From a recent long distance student convert

I just wanted to take the time to sit down and give you a note that you deserve.
First of all, the experience that you provided in person quite exceeded my expectations in terms of your congeniality, supportiveness, and support. Your congregations' kindness at Friday's services was amazing. What I appreciated most from the experience, however - the thing that resonates with me and will for a long time - was the directness with which the beit din addressed both my concerns and what impressions I was giving you. Everything from support for my enthusiasm to the comments you all made about the fact that I would have issues owning my Judaism and that I needed to reflect and to respond to what *I* thought was right for me. All these things I have been processing and standing by.

After conversion, we went to the kosher bagel shop I sat there marveling that I was no longer really an outsider to this and that this was the simple reality.

But the conversion definitely did something for me: it gave me my voice back. I have since been able to really state what my opinions are, and for the first time have very frank conversations about what Judaism means to me to everyone I'm really optimistic about the positive net effect the conversion has had on me, what your advice and warnings have had, and I am ready to let the past fall away and build for the future.

So thank you. I've said this before, but I thank you for making this your pet mitzvah. I am sure there are people that are not supportive of your endeavors, but as someone who believes in what you're trying to do, please know how profoundly your willingness to put energies in this venue has affected my life, and will affect my community for a long time.

Thank you and shavua tov!

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