Friday, August 19, 2011

Muslims return to judaism after 1300 years

1. Describe the factors which have drawn you to Judaism.
There are several factors that I can list here but I would rather not because I don’t want to focus on some of the values but all the values I have found in Judaism. Judaism is a way of life. It is a path that shows you how to live your life in a way that G-d has set for us which is the most perfect and the best match to our lives as human beings. Judaism in my opinion is the origin of monotheism religion, the first and the best. I wanted to be in the covenant with G-d. I believe in G-d and the teachings in Judaism best matches what I have always thought and felt about him.

2. Which Jewish values do you find most appealing and persuasive?
Judaism is the religion of Law. The first religion that had written down commandments directly from him. The commandments that include every major activity of mankind and have rules and principles for it. Judaism has been always ahead of its time due to the humanitarian principles. It always values concepts like the family, respect for parents ,and education.

3. How is Judaism more appropriate for you than your former religion or worldview/lifestyle?
I am from Iran a country that was turned Muslim by force of sword. My people had to convert to Islam in order to stay alive otherwise were killed by Muslim invaders. My people have been never free to choose their own religion and way of life and all the minorities have been living there under the fear of being labeled as spy and executed.
Since the day I entered America, I gradually started to realize that I am living in a free country in which people are free to practice their own chosen religion. Therefore, I started studying about Judaism which is very close to me regarding its values and ways of life. I feel much more connected to G-d and closer to him since the day I decided to convert. While my previous religion was only giving me fear of G-d and other Muslims because they can easily kill you if they think you are not a good Muslim. How can I let my child live under this fear and what kind of G-d Muslims are talking about which allows you to kill another human being if they don’t believe in your G-d.

4. Describe your understanding of and relationship to God.
G-d is the creator, the source of purity and innocence. The source of Goodness who created us out of love and equal. There is only him and no other G-d. I feel so close to him now and don’t scare while I feel him that close to me. He is the first and the last. Whatever happens is happening by his will and he always wants the best for us and wants us to be honest and truthful to him and to each other.

5. How has your personal and home life changed because of Jewish tradition? How do see your Jewish life progressing in the future?
It has changed a lot. My husband and I have bought the same wedding ring with David star all over it to get married by Jewish tradition after conversion and are wearing Hamsah necklace all the time as a protection. We have chosen Hebrew names for ourselves. We are reading Torah weekly and discuss the values of Jewish way of life with each other although far from each other. Whenever I take a shower I think I am going to Mikvah and pray. I have contacted two conservative congregation nearby and have asked them to accept me as part of their congregation member and Jewish community which I hope will be accepted after conversion.

6. Describe your sense of identification with the Jewish people in relation to Israel , world Jewry, the local Jewish community and your synagogue.
I feel so close to them I feel I am part of them and I hope they will accept me, too. I love Israel and wish to be able to live there with my family one day and help building a great and strong Jewish land which belonged to us forever and will do anything to protect it against those who have false claims about it. I will never let them touch my land, Israel.
I will devote myself to my Jewish community and do whatever I can to support my synagogue and strengthen the community.

7. What is your commitment to prayer, Shabbat and keeping kosher?

I will always observe Shabbat and keep it holy by any means I will be able to. As a matter of fact I am observing it each week and already keep our food kosher although they are more expensive but I have noticed the quality is much better.

8. How do you plan to continue your Jewish study?
I want to become an active member of my synagogue and take part in prayer gatherings. I want to keep contact with my conversion Rabbi and be a member of e-synagogue as well. In different occasions, I buy different books about Judaism for myself and my child to help us with a better understanding of Judaism and being a good Jew.

the brother-in-law

1.Describe the factors which have drawn you to Judaism.
I have always been intrigued by the Jewish culture since childhood and fascinated by the fact that many of the most prolific people in history were Jewish. Intellectuals such as Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud were among some of my roles models in life. As I grew up, I became more and more drawn to the Jewish culture and absorbed by its tradition, I decided to explore it. Although my understanding of Judaism during my childhood years was quite limited, I felt a sense of belonging to the Jewish community. Over the years, I have found several Jewish friends who were ambitious to accustom me to their culture and in the course of time I learned from them the Jewish philosophy of life, core beliefs, rituals, and celebrations. I was amazed by the magnitude of their respect and love towards family and their closeness and affection for each other. Consequently, I decided that if I was ever going to have children and create a family, it would be in a Jewish atmosphere.

2.Which Jewish values do you find most appealing and persuasive?
I find the Jewish values of helping others and contributing to the community very intriguing. Values such as Tzedakah, Shalom bayit, and Tikkun olam are among some the Jewish obligations that are essential to fulfill in order to create a peaceful and ideal community.

3.How is Judaism more appropriate for you than your former religion or worldview/lifestyle? I was raised in a liberal Muslim family and spent most of my childhood in Iran. The Iranian population is dominated by Muslims, nevertheless there is a very small Jewish minority living there. During my school years, I managed to find two Jewish friends who enlightened me on the origins of Judaism. After discovering that Judaism is the first monotheistic religion in the world, it suddenly became unreasonable for me to follow any religion other than Judaism. I'm Persian and considering the fact that Judaism is one of the oldest religions practiced in Iran, it became apparent to me that Islam had no true place in my country and it is dominant only because people were forcefully converted against their will.
As a child, I observed how Islam turns people against each other and spreads hate. Children were being brainwashed from a very young age to commit violence against those who question Islam. I saw the misery of the Jewish people and other minorities in my country and decided I wouldn't want anything to do with Islam. Unfortunately the punishment for apostasy in Islam is death, so after migrating to the United States I saw the opportunity to convert without being prosecuted.

4.Describe your understanding of and relationship to G*d. My relationship to G*d is that of a master and servant. He is the creator of the whole universe who is the ultimate cause of all existence. He is infinitely wise and powerful who cares about the future and wellbeing of humanity. We must obey his laws in order to improve our society and make the world a better place.

5.How has your personal and home life changed because of Jewish tradition? How do see your Jewish life progressing in the future? My personal life and mentality have changed tremendously since I've considered conversion. I've recently started to keep Kosher to my best ability and only buy products that are Kosher. I bought my first Menorah last week and plan on lighting it this Hanukkah. I read the Torah on a regular basis and I've started to learn Hebrew. I observe the Shabbat every week, light candles, and eat Challah. I see my Jewish life progressing in the future by marring a Jewish girl and raising a Jewish family in a Jewish house.

6.Describe your sense of identification with the Jewish people in relation to Israel , world Jewry, the local Jewish community and your synagogue. I'm a determined supporter of the state of Israel and its people. I hope to visit Israel one day and become a Israeli myself. I disagree with those who oppose its existence and it is my personal belief that Israel has been too soft on its enemies. Iran, the country that I'm originally from, is advancing towards nuclear weapons at a dangerously accelerated rate and nobody seems to do anything about it. I've spent the first 14 years of my life in Iran and I know how serious the Iranian government is about wiping Israel off the map. They continuously feed the anti-semitic propagandas to the Iranian people and brainwash kids into hating Israel and the Zionism. I know without a doubt in my mind that the Iranian government will destroy Israel without hesitation if they get hold of nuclear weapons. There is also a high chance for the Iranian government to use nuclear weapons on its own people due to high levels of social unrest and opposition to the government. Bombing Iran seems to be an effective way of putting a stop to Iran's nuclear programs, but unfortunately nobody seems to take the first step unless it is too late.
I will be attending services at my local synagogue once I'm converted and I would like to become an active member of the Jewish community and contribute to it to my best ability.

7.What is your commitment to prayer, Shabbat and keeping kosher? I have started to observe the Shabbat every week and recite candle lighting blessings and Havdalah in Hebrew and I refuse to work on Fridays and Saturdays. I am currently learning Hebrew to better understand the Torah and the meaning of prayers. I keep kosher to my best ability and always purchase products that are kosher and avoid foods that aren't kosher such as cheeseburger.

8.How do you plan to continue your Jewish study?
I'm planning on joining the Jewish organization at my college this semester and become an active member. I've also decided to visit Israel soon through Birthright Israel organization to learn more about Judaism and the Israeli people.

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